Kenya’s Energy Regulator said it has embarked on initiatives aimed at reducing biomass fuel use in the country, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said on Thursday.
The commission’s acting Director for Petroleum, Mr Edward Kinyua, said plans were underway to introduce purchase of Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) through mobile phones.
Kinyua said ERC would also present the introduction of 500 grammes gas cylinder for use by low income earners.
“We intend to contribute to the citizen’s wellbeing by ensuring that they use clean energy while cooking as opposed to firewood and kerosene that contribute to death of women and children,’’ Kinyua said.
He said that purchase of LPG would be operational once the smart meters were installed by a team of consultants that included scientists from Colorado University, currently running trials in the informal settlements in Nairobi.
Kinyua said that the technology will enable people to purchase LPG through prepaid token depending on the amount of money one had from their mobile phones anytime as was the case with mobile shopping.
“This will help to increase penetration of gas cylinders.
“It will also help to have access to clean energy to consumers and contribute to the reduction of indoor pollution that is blamed for death of many people in the country,’’ he added.
Kinyua also announced that additional gas cylinder weighing 500 grammes would be introduced to cater for people in the informal settlements and far-flung villages to reduce cutting of trees for fuel.
Report says in Kenya, LPG is sold in one, three, six and 13 kilogrammes unit, at a price that is far above low income earners who mainly depend on fuel wood and charcoal for cooking and heating their houses.
Air pollution is a major contributor to respiratory diseases in Kenya.
It kills 14,300 Kenyans annually while the number of people with respiratory diseases increased by 63 per cent over a four-year period from 12.2 million in 2012 to 19.9 million in 2016.
Kinyua said that a number of people were victims because they used traditional fuels and kerosene for cooking and heating.
Air pollution from indoor and outdoor sources remains a major environmental and health issue, and a policy challenge, especially in Kenya that is rapidly urbanising.