A High Court in Kenya has barred the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) from reviewing fuel prices upward
This came after the hearing and determination of a petition filed by a human rights group, Kituo Cha Sheria.
The group, according to Energy News Africa, filed the suit on December 10, 2023, to challenge EPRA’s decision to retain the cost of petrol and diesel above Sh200 despite the global prices declining.
The group noted that the persistent increases in fuel prices had become unbearable for Kenyans.
The current pump price for petrol is Sh217.36 while EPRA capped the retail price for diesel and kerosene at Sh203.47 and Sh203.06 respectively.
Kituo’s lawyers John Khaminwa and John Mwariri told the court that EPRA turned a blind eye to the suffering caused by the high cost of fuel.
According to Khaminwa and Mwariri, the government was aware that international fuel prices had slumped significantly.
The group insisted that there is no justification for the regulator to retain the high cost of fuel.
Kituo accused EPRA of neglecting, refusing, or failing to stabilize fuel costs.
It also accused the regulator of contributing to the hardships experienced by the majority of Kenyans.
According to Kituo, there are fears that the government intends to hike the price of petrol to more than Sh300 in the next review.
“The petitioner (Kituo) avers that the members of the public stand to suffer irreparable loss and great inconvenience if the respondents are not ordered to urgently perform their legal obligations to protect citizens from further suffering, slow economic growth, declining living standards, and high inflation thus infringing the aforesaid fundamental rights and freedoms,” argued Kituo lawyers.
The court ruling highlighted the petitioner’s argument that the exorbitant fuel prices have led to unaffordable transportation costs for both private and public means of transport.
The court ruling partly read, ”The petitioner contends that the high fuel prices have resulted in very high and unaffordable transport costs for both private and public means of transport.”
The court’s conservatory orders will remain in effect pending further legal proceedings, offering temporary relief to the public as the EPRA monthly review nears.
Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir recently attributed the high fuel prices to the Israel-Hamas conflict during his appearance before the National Dialogue Committee (NADCO) and warned that if the conflict persisted, fuel prices could reach KSh 300 in the coming months.
Kituo Cha Sheria contested Chirchir’s statement, citing a press release where he claimed the government had implemented measures to shield Kenyans from the impact of high pump prices and accused the Ministry of Energy of neglecting its responsibility to ensure price stability.