Kenya’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) will continue to oversee the retail petroleum sector, surviving attempts to take away its role in the “transportation, storage, and sale of refined products” according to the Standard.
Proposals had been made to have another regulator handle the petroleum functions, a move that could have eliminated the situation where ERC reports to two ministries compared to other regulators that only report to one ministry.
The New Energy Bill
The new Energy Bill proposes to have ERC renamed as the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority where the regulator will oversee electricity and petroleum industries apart from crude oil which will be regulated by the Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority proposed in the Petroleum Bill. The Energy Bill has already undergone public participation and the National Assembly and is now at the Senate.
The director general of ERC Pavel Oimeke is against the proposal to split the regulator’s functions due to the possible high costs and duplication of roles that will occur.
“At least for now, we can have one regulator for electricity and petroleum because of the costs to the exchequer. If we were to form another regulator to deal with petroleum separately from electricity, it would not be good for the country and other than costs, it will also mean duplication of roles,” he said.
“Let us maintain one regulator. If the time comes when we need different entities, then it can be done,” he added.
However, the Kenya Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas wants the petroleum functions to be handled by the proposed oil and gas regulator under the Petroleum Bill. In addition, Parliament’s Energy Committee has earlier suggested the removal of the petroleum role from ERC to the proposed petroleum regulator.
Hiked Electricity Tariffs
ERC also wants a court case challenging the recently implemented electricity tariffs to be dismissed to allow it to handle the grievance instead.
Former LSK boss Apollo Mboya challenged the implementation of the tariffs at the High Court. However, ERC says Mboya should have taken up the matter with them instead.
“The spirit of the law dictates that the court should not be invited to transform itself or take over a policy implementing the body’s role whenever it is handling any matter,” ERC said.