THE Energy Regulation Board (ERB) says it has revised its filling station grading system and will re-grade all service stations starting this month to address consumer service requirements.
ERB public relations manager Kwali Mfuni said previously the grading system was primarily focusing on safety and product quality requirements but that the regulator has received numerous complaints from customers about the quality of services offered by some oil marketing companies.
Ms. Mfuni said some motorists have complained of quality of the service offered by the companies and that the breach of requirements such as the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency did not have an immediate impact on the grades awarded to the erring filling stations.
“The ERB has revised its filling station grading system by assigning points to consumer service-related requirements. This measure has been taken to address consumer concerns on the grading criteria which was based on technical requirements.
‘‘Therefore, the ERB will this month start re-grading stations based on the revised criteria. The revised scoring criteria has allocated 32 points out of 60 to consumer services in order to address motorists’ concerns such as provision of compressed air and dispensing wrong fuel for the engine type.
“Previously, the grading system was primarily focused on safety and product quality requirements whose weighted scores accounted 70 percent and 30 percent respectively. Under this campaign, filling stations have been graded A, B or C depending on the compliance level with technical regulations as outlined in their licenses but we have been receiving complaints from motorists regarding the quality of service by oil marketing companies and dealers at some facilities which were highly rated by ERB.
‘‘Therefore, the revised grading system now includes consumer service directly to impact on the grade of the filling station. The new requirements that have now been provided for to address the concerns which include the provision of compressed air and assistance to operate equipment, alternative energy source to continue dispensing fuel even in the event of power outage, confirmation of the requested fuel type to avoid cross -ontamination as well as additional services such as windscreen cleaning and oil check and efficiency in serving motorists and general courtesy,” Ms. Mfuni said.
She advised motorists to participate in monitoring services at filling stations and report any anomalies.
“The revised guidelines are intended to motivate oil marketing companies and dealers to meet customer expectations with regard to quality of service and provision of ancillary services such as compressed air, toilet facilities and general efficiency in attending to customers.