As more Nigerians seek cheaper fuel in place of expensive Premium Motor Spirit(Petrol), the Lagos State Government has called for responsive adoption of CNG-modified generators and strict adherence to safety measures to avoid loss of lives and properties.
This safety call is coming on the sideline of the recent removal of subsidy on petrol by the Federal Government, which has led to a hike in the pump price of the product, and the surge in the users’ modification of petrol generators to run on natural gas or propane with a kit that replaces the carburetor with a regulator.
EnergyDay check showed that the advent of expensive petrol has resulted in the large-scale retrofitting of the electric generators to enable it to use propane (LPG) as an alternative fuel, which is seen to be cheaper and environmentally friendly.
This new development is however coming with attendant safety risks and hazards that could arise as a result of compromised installations or failed retrofitting procedure mostly carried out by quacks and inexperienced engineers.
The Lagos State Government in a statement obtained by EnergyDay , has therefore called on residents of the state to be safety conscious in the process of converting petrol to LPG/CNG for home use.
Mr. Lanre Mojola, Director General, Lagos Safety Commission said that the Lagos State Government is concerned about the safety of the lives and properties of its citizens, adding that the government will do all within its power to intensify advocacy in view of the new development.
According to him, there are several benefits attached to powering generators and power plants with environmentally friendly fuels like Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) or Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
He said, “CNG and LPG are generally cheaper than petrol, offering potential cost savings over the long term. These fuels are cleaner, and so do not contaminate the air as much as petrol and diesel do. Natural gas and LPG are often more abundant and domestically sourced in certain regions compared to petrol.
“This can provide greater fuel availability and independence from fluctuations in petrol prices or supply disruptions.
“CNG and LPG combustion generally produce less noise compared to petrol. This results in quieter generator operation, which can be beneficial for residential use and minimize noise pollution,” he noted.
Mojola, Director General, Lagos Safety Commission declared that the Lagos State Government would continue to alert the general public of the safety hazards and risks inherent in the conversion process in the use of these LPG- powered generators at homes and offices.
He said, “Spark or heat from the generator can cause a fire outbreak if gas leakage occurs from the hose or cylinder valve and explosion could also occur if the generator house is not properly ventilated thereby allowing gas leak build up in enclosed space.
“LPG is bottled under high pressure with the potential for explosions if not properly handled.
Gas cylinders can fall and roll off if not placed on even flooring. When this happens, the gas hose can pull out leading to uncontrolled leakages and corrosion of gas cylinders can occur also when left in the rain or in a humid environment.
“Exposure to direct sunlight can expose cylinders to excessive temperature with an attendant risk of explosion while poor installation of the hybrid carburetors on generators can as well increase the risks of accidents,” the Director said.
Mojola, however, noted that the CNG use should be discouraged for household generating sets except for special cases like large estates with plants for power generation.
The Director also stated that the use of sub-standard, dilapidated or expired cylinders could increase the risks of a gas explosion.
Ms Shola Shasore, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, on her part, emphasised the importance of employing the services of qualified engineers in the process of converting a petrol generator to CNG/LPG generators.
The Permanent Secretary stressed that the installation of CNG/LPG kits may require the use of appropriate conversion kits by qualified professionals. She, therefore, charged Lagosians to engage only qualified technicians for this service.