The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has indicated it may decommission some fuel service stations that flout the authority’s standard guidelines.
Mera chief executive officer Collins Magalasi said this in an interview in Lilongwe on Wednesday on the sidelines of a day-long stakeholders’ sensitisation workshop at Sunbird Capital.
He said the new guidelines have been set to bring balance between the interests of the public and private sector players.
“Yes, we are mandated to ensure that there is sufficient supply of fuel, gas and electricity. But paramount to this is creating a safe, secure and sustainable operational environment, hence, the guidelines and standards to be followed in the sector,” he said.
The new guidelines and standards for the construction and operation of service stations, became effective in September 2017 and touch on location, safety and friendliness to the environment.
“In as much as they [guidelines] can’t be applied to those who had already constructed their service stations prior to that, the authority has what are called improvement standards, whereby we inspect those that had already constructed their service stations to give them some sort of areas that deserve some improving on for them to migrate to the new standards.
“This will ensure we have a uniform code in enhancing safety and security in and around the service stations, apart from making them environmentally sustainable,” Magalasi explained.
According to the new guidelines, no service station is to be constructed within a radius of 100 metres to a public institution such as a school, a church, a hospital or a stadium.
The new standards also stipulate that a service station can only be constructed on the strength of an environmental management plan.
Mera plans to take the sensitisation workshops across the country, with Blantyre next on its calendar.
The workshop sought to familiarise stakeholders with its newly-gazetted guidelines on service stations’ construction and decommissioning.