The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has warned fuel retailers not to tamper with the quality of the product as the regulator will be conducting quality checks and punish those that will be found in breach of the law.
The warning comes on the back of social media messages insinuating that the quality of fuel, particularly petrol, is being blended beyond the stipulated ratio.
The current gazetted blending ratio is 20 percent ethanol and this is done either at National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) or any other blending sites.
The regulator also called on consumers to promptly report all cases of tampering so that authorities can investigate and institute corrective measures.
“The authority is aware that during periods of product supply constraints as is obtaining now, some filling stations may be tempted to engage in illegal and unethical practices for personal gain,” said Zera in a statement released yesterday.
“Zera is carrying out joint monitoring operations with key stakeholders such as Trade Measures Department (TMD) to detect and deter any malpractices in the sector.
“Consumers are encouraged to report suspicious operators in time to enable prompt investigations and corrective action.
“Consumers are also urged to avoid buying fuel from unlicensed fuel vendors whose product quality cannot be assured and may have been tampered with.”
However, the regulator has to date not had a confirmed case of petrol quality tampering and is confident that its usual market checks and blending supervision is producing the right quality of petrol.
Instead, the authority has this year picked a case of diesel contamination.
“In the market Zera consistently conducts routine quality inspections at all fuel service stations across the country and prosecutes offending operators. From January 2019 to August 2019, the average compliance rate to fuel quality standards was 99, 2 percent across the country with only one site being prosecuted for having contaminated diesel,” reads the Zera statement.