MERA shuts down 12 fuel stations for ignoring new prices

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Energy authorities on Monday closed 12 fuel service stations in Lilongwe and Blantyre for overpricing fuel, despite the supplies’ price being reduced last Friday.

Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) Chief executive officer Allexon Chiwaya said the regulator received various complaints from customers that the 12 stations were still selling petroleum products at the pump prices as revised on May 11, 2012 and not the reduced price of July 6th, 2012.

“It must be observed that selling of fuel at any price above the reduced pump price for petrol, diesel and paraffin prices at K441.02, K445.56, K366.95 and K171.00 respectively is an offence under section 40 (1) of the Energy Regulator Act,” reads the statement made available to The Daily Times.

The development is in line with the new system of Automatic Pricing Mechanism which MERA has introduced last month, which stipulates that prices of fuel in the country will be in conformity with that of the global market.

Petrol is now selling at 441.10 kwacha per litre from 490 kwacha; diesel is at 445.56 from 475 per litre, while paraffin is pegged at 177 kwacha per litre from K188.

Meanwhile, some pump station operators are expected to lose millions of kwacha in their business following the recent reduction of fuel prices on the market.

Speaking on behalf of the operators, secretary general of the Petroleum Retailers Association Leonard Chikadya argued that the reduction in prices has found many operators with plenty of stock which they will sell at a loss.

Chikadya told the Daily Times that there has been “lack of consultation by MERA with key stakeholders, including petroleum companies and retailers on how best the system should work.”

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