Johannesburg, Thursday, 3 October 2019: The COMESA led project on Enhancement of a Sustainable Regional Energy Market for the Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (ESREM/EA-SA-IO) Region is supporting the establishment of an energy regulatory authority in Southern Africa.
This will be achieved by transforming the current Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA) to an authority to deal with regulatory issues relating to cross-border energy. The new Authority will be named SARERA (Southern Africa Development Community Regional Energy Regulators Authority). The transformation is expected to be complete by 2021.
Last week in Johannesburg, 3- 4 October 2019, ESREM brought together members of RERA for a two-day regional workshop to validate a study done to develop a framework and roadmap towards the transformation. In its current form as an association, RERA does not have a mandate to provide regulatory oversight over the regional energy market in SADC.
COMESA through the Regional Association of Energy Regulators of Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA) is implementing the seven million European Union funded ESREM project to deliver, among others, the enhancement of Regulatory Capacity of the National Regulatory Authorities and strengthening capacity of the Regional Associations and power pools. These include RERA, RAERESA and the East Africa and Southern Africa Power Pools (EAPP and SAPP).
In the transformation of RERA, the role of ESREM-RAERESA is to guide the process.
At the workshop, various keynote speakers hailed the move to transform RERA as it was part of a study conducted to develop the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP).
The Director General of the Department of Energy of South Africa Mr. Thabane Zulu observed that the SADC region had identified infrastructure development as a priority in developing the RIDMP, which is an opportunity for Member States to strike consensus on priority projects.
According to the study, the region faces the challenge of insufficient energy supply to serve increased industrial production and access. Despite the current interconnectivity achievements through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), the study also revealed that, the region still faces several challenges with regard to energy delivery, access and price.
“The implementation of the RIDMP is key to unlock the full potential of our region gifted with vast and diverse energy resources such as hydro, coal, gas and solar through regional integration,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), Mr. Christopher Forlee said the transformation of RERA will expand cross-border trade in energy, promote investment and competitiveness of regional electricity trade.
In her remarks, the Vice chairperson of RERA and Energy Regulations Board of Zambia (ERB) Chief Executive Officer Ms. Langiwe Lungu expressed gratitude to the European Union (EU) for the support towards the implementation of the Project on Strengthening RERA in general and organizing this Validation Workshop in particular.
Senior Programme Officer at SADC, Mr. Moses Ntlamelle noted that the developments in the energy sector were critical as they have the potential to contribute to the regional integration, industrialization and reduction of poverty in the region.
Among the workshop participants were representatives of the Energy Regulatory Authorities and Power Utilities, Regulatory Institute of Electricity and Water Services of Angola, Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority, National Energy Regulator of South Africa (NERSA), Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority of Tanzania, SADC Secretariat, SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE), Southern African Power Pool Coordination Centre, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority and COMESA.