Via Business Daily
Poor households will start receiving free gas cylinders and two-burner low pressure table top cookers under the government’s plan to promote the use of clean cooking energy.
The renewed plan to equip poor households with the cooking gas equipment comes months after a similar scheme failed to take off amid claims of substandard cylinders supply and resale of the subsidised gadgets at market rates.
Under the new scheme, the 6-Kg cylinder will now be metered and registered to a specific individual who will get refills when the gas is almost depleted given the consumption is digitally monitored.
State-owned National Oil Corporation of Kenya will provide the metered gas.
The Petroleum ministry is seeking suppliers of the first 100,000 cylinders and 80,000 cookers and meters to kick off the plan that targets eliminating the use of firewood for cooking in low-income estates.
Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said the challenges experienced in the earlier scheme have been useful in designing a fraud-proof one that will be scaled up as funds become available.
“We are rolling out a Pay-As-You-Go model where the households will use their mobile phones to buy cooking gas as little as Sh5 to cook,” Mr Kamau said.
“This is to enable them abandon kerosene and wood which are dirty fuel and start using LPG given that we shall have eliminated the main barrier, which is the initial cost of buying a cylinder and cooker.”
Under the intial Sh3 billion plan, dubbed the Mwananchi Gas Project, the households were to receive 6kg cooking gas cylinders and burners at a discounted price of Sh2,000.
But fraudulent contractors supplied 67,251 faulty cylinders, scuttling the government plan. More than a third of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cylinders supplied to the National Oil were sub-standard, including having faulty valves that posed the danger of fire eruptions.
The consumers whose details will be captured in the digital system will be key to data gathering, with the government able to tell the consumption rates and use the information for planning.
The meter attached on top of the cylinder will show locations of the users and detect tampering, which may come from attempts to dismantle and sell it.
The fresh scheme will kick off in Nairobi’s major slums ahead of expansion to other towns with the 2019 census having offered a critical pointer to the target areas.
The census revealed that firewood was the most commonly used type of cooking fuel with 55.1 percent of the households using followed against gas at 23.9 percent.
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