Zimbabwe has been hit by an unexpected shortage of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), a crisis attributed to the combination of refinery shutdowns and constrained supply at some refineries that are still in operation.
The gas shortage was evident this week as most distributors were closed, and few places where the product was available, prices had shot up from the retail average of US$1,60 to as high as US$5 per kilogramme.
By Shyline Guvakuva and Tongai Mwenje
Gas has become popular among Zimbabwe energy users in the face of erratic electricity supplies.
The country whose peak electricity demand is 2 200 megawatts (MW) a day, produces a mere 1 500 MW.
Following the introduction of ZESA prepaid meters, excessive load shedding and generally areas where there is no electricity, many people have resorted to using solar energy, firewood as well as LP Gas.
Liquefied petroleum gas or liquid petroleum gas (LPG or LP gas), also referred to as simply propane or butane, are flammable mixtures of hydrocarbon gases used as fuel in heating appliances, cooking equipment, and vehicles.
Efforts to get official statements from local suppliers were fruitless as most of them refused to speak to the media.
There is, however, no guarantee that gas supplies would be restored in Zimbabwe any time soon.