The Consumers Federation of Kenya (COFEK), the paramount lobby group for consumers in the East African country, has urged the nation’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to fairly carry out its mandate.
The ERC is mandated to regulate the prices of electrical energy, petroleum and related products, renewable energy and other forms of energy. The state body is also tasked with protecting the interests of consumers, investors and other stakeholders.
COFEK officials this week told the Commission that its continuous upward adjustment of fuel prices was weighing down consumers.
The call comes barely two weeks after the cost of super petrol and diesel in Kenya was increased by Ksh2.13 ($0.02) and Ksh2.39 (0.023), respectively.
The price of a litre of kerosene also jumped by Ksh3.36 ($0.033), according to the latest maximum retail pump prices of petroleum products announced by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
Majority of Kenyan consumers are highly reliant on kerosene for cooking and lighting. An earlier report by Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) found that 68% of Kenyans use kerosene for lighting.
The country’s government has since made strides to phase out over-reliance on the fuel, mainly through an ambitious initiative dubbed the Last Mile Project, which aims to connect every Kenyan to the country’s national power grid in the coming years.
Meanwhile, the ERC has attributed the upward adjustment in this month’s prices to an increase in landed costs.
The Commission’s Director-General Pavel Oimeke said the average landed cost of imported Super Petrol increased by 3.99% from $636.22 per tonne to $661.6 between November and December last year.
This was the latest in a series of price hikes that trickled down to both large and small scale consumers of fuel in the country.
As such, COFEK has been holding dialogue forums to encourage state bodies like the ERC to consider the effects of such market trends on consumers.
“Consumer Dialogue Forums have achieved much more for consumers than confrontation can,” COFEK said in a statement issued on January 31st, 2018.
“We have confidence in the ERC to regulate the sector fairly. If that conviction changes, we can adopt other lawful options. We fully understand energy sector regulation,” the lobby group added.