Mera warns on filling stations
The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) has warned that it will shut down all filling stations that do not meet standards outlined in the Standards and Requirements for Construction and Decommissioning of retail outlets of the liquid fuels regulations of 2017.
The warning comes after complaints from civil society oganisations about the construction of a filling station by businessman Abraham Simama close to Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, which they want stopped.
Mera Chief Executive Officer, Collins Magalasi, said his office has not received any documents on Simama’s filling station, yet but will take necessary procedures when they apply for a licence.
“At the moment, I don’t have that specific issue on my desk because, as Mera we provide the construction licence and the operational licence, so I think the case you are referring to started before these standards were established, in other words, we did not provide a construction licence.
“When they finish, for them to operate, they will need an operational licence, so when we will be looking at that, we will assess whether that structure will meet the standards and necessary action will follow, ” Magalasi said.
Among other things the amended regulations stipulate that Mera will not consider for approval, construction of any retail outlet if the proposed site is located within a radius of one kilometre of an operational retail outlet in urban, built-up or residential area.
They also say that if the proposed site is located within a radius of 100 metres from public institutions which are normally overcrowded such as schools, churches, markets, bus stops, public libraries, auditoriums, stadiums, hospitals, public playgrounds and any other places may not be approved for business.
This comes at a time there is controversy regarding many filling stations that have been constructed mainly in Blantyre and Lilongwe, some near residential areas or health facilities.
Magalasi said in places where two or more filling stations are operating within a kilometre radius, they will assess the impact and most likely let one to operate and close the rest of the stations as per the standards.
Mera adopted the new Standards and Requirements for Construction and Decommissioning of retail outlets of the liquid fuels and gas in September 2017.
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