ERA Shines Again! Wins Majority Vote to Host Eastern Africa Power Secretariat

The Ugandan Power Regulator, the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) has been voted to host the Secretariat of Independent Regulatory Board (IRB) of the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP), a regional institution established in 2005 to coordinate cross-border power trade and grid interconnection among nations of the Eastern Africa region.

We learned that the decision was taken at the IRB Board meeting held on Thursday, December 15, 2022, in Kigali, Rwanda.

According to ERA, hosting the IRB presents opportunities for Uganda to develop expertise in regional power trading.

It should, however, be noted that In October 2022 ERA Board Chairperson, Dr Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi, told Ugandans that the Authority was already vying to host the Secretariat of IRB.

Hosting IRB, Kanaabi said, benefits Uganda to have greater influence in the region, and steer the agenda to develop the regional power pool.

The focus of ERA for the electricity sub-sector, Kanaabi said is the delivery of quality and reliable power supply, making electricity services affordable and accelerating access to electricity.

Commenting on Uganda’s bid to host the IRB of the East African Power Pool, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Dr Ruth Nankabirwa said Uganda pre-qualifies.

“Hosting the Secretariat for Eastern African Power Pool, Uganda qualifies. What will others say? Uganda Electricity Regulatory Authority has been ranked [by the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda in the corporate governance award, as the entity with the best corporate governance practices in Uganda]. That is qualification number one. Tell them that we are ready, and we are open to helping others also,” she said.

“I want to congratulate you (ERA). The achievements are glaring. You have managed to increase connectivity; over 1.8 million people have been connected. The power kapos have done their work,” she added.

The electricity industry has experienced tremendous growth which has earned ERA, and the country; local and international recognition for the last four years.

More About the Independent Regulatory Board (IRB)

The Independent Regulatory Board (IRB) is EAPP’s organ for regional regulation and reports directly to the Council of Ministers (CoM). The IRB is composed of heads of the national regulatory authorities/commissions in each member country.

Ministries of Energy represent the IRB in countries with no regulatory body. The IRB is already established but the EAPP is preparing the necessary organizational documents and staffing structure to operationalize the IRB shortly.

The current empowering legal instruments of EAPP are the Inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding and subsequently the Inter–utility Memorandum of Understanding agreements between the member countries. These agreements provide EAPP with a mandate and a governing structure.To facilitate the attainment of EAPP objectives, the EAPP has a governance structure which comprises

The Council of Ministers (CoM);

The Steering Committee (SC);

Independent Regulatory Board (IRB);

Organizational Committees (OC);

The General Secretariat (GS)

The Council of Ministers (COM) is the supreme governing body of EAPP that provides strategic guidance and oversight. The Steering Committee (SC), which consists of heads of the member utilities, is the executive arm responsible for policy formulation and monitoring of execution. The day-to-day activities are handled by a General Secretariat (GS) located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Key Responsibilities

The Independent Regulatory Board is responsible to the Council of Ministers and has the following roles and responsibilities:

1. Enforces standards, procedures, and specifications as set out by the Steering Committee;

2. Organizes power markets in the EAPP;

3. Follows up the application of rules between members participating in the power exchange within EAPP

4. Harmonizes the accounting and billing procedures of power exchanges;

5. Settles any disputes arising between members related to the exchange and transactions within EAPP.

6. Provides dispute resolution support on any other matters arising from Memorandum of   Understanding (MOU) interpretation, the interface between regional regulations and domestic regulations, and the internal affairs of the Regional Regulatory Commission (RRC) that require legal advice.

7. Changes application of regional regulations, proposals for modifications when deemed necessary, and support to the countries to adjust their domestic legislation/regulations to ensure better harmonization with the regional trading environment

8. Develops and proposes cross-border transmission tariffs methods, calculation of cross-border tariffs and wheeling services,

9. Organizes and carries out the tenders for capacity interconnectors

10. Monitors compliance of market participants with regional regulations

11. Monitors regional market development and undertakes market surveillance

12. Ensures availability of all internal requirements of the unit, including internal budgeting, financial control, human resources, IT support, training, and any logistical support required for extra-ordinary meetings with the Council of Ministers/ Steering Committee and organizational Committees.

ERA adds that the IRB secretariat will be housed at the old ERA House located at plot 12 Shimoni Rd, Kampala.


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