Two staff members of the Legal, Licensing and Public Affairs (LLPA) Unit at the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) recently participated in a meeting and a specialized training on the electricity market organized by the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) in Accra and Akosombo respectively in the Republic of Ghana.
The head of the LLPA Unit Cllr. Minnie Paegar-Kallon represented the Commission at the legal and licensing working group meeting which was held from 27-28 September to review results from information collected on the harmonization of criteria for granting license to participate in the regional electricity market.
During the meeting representatives from national regulators established the difference between license and authorization within the context of the electricity sector, drafted options to be considered for authorization to participate in the regional electricity market, licensing procedure for import and export licenses, mandatory terms for import and export licenses among others.
Prior to this meeting a virtual meeting was held on 6 August this year to discuss the need to put in place a harmonized framework for granting of licenses and market authorizations for participants in the regional electricity market as well as steps towards the development of a guideline for the harmonization to grant license and model import and export licenses.
To jumpstart the process of development of the guideline, ERERA conducted a survey on the existing licenses and licensing procedures currently in place within ECOWAS member states in the region.
In a related development, ERERA recently held a four-day intensive workshop on the Fundamentals of Regulation and Introduction to the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market for communication specialists from the electricity regulatory bodies within the West African region. The workshop was funded by the European Union.
LERC’s Public Affairs and Communication Officer Crispin Tulay participated in the workshop which was held from 29 September to 2 October in Akosombo, the eastern region of Ghana.
The key component of the training was to focus on building the capacity of communication specialists on the regulatory framework of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market. And the role communication experts play in promoting the visibility of the development of the regional market.
The training was graced by the Resident Representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Ghana, Mr. Baba Gana Wakil and Professor Honoré Bogler, Chairman.
Speaking during the opening ceremony Ambassador Wakil said “knowledgeable communicators are key to the success of the electricity market project which is intended to collectively address electricity challenges in the West Africa region”.
Ambassador Wakil reminded participants that communication experts play pivotal roles in the electricity sector and are champions for all forms of infrastructural development.
The Chairman for ERERA, Professor Bogler, lamented that the outbreak of COVID-19 delayed the implementation of Phase II of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market by two years. However, ERERA was working with West African Power Pool (WAPP) to try to launch the second phase of the project by the end of 2022 or at the beginning of 2023.
Facilitators of the workshop were: Engineer Uzoma Achinanya Nke, Ms. Ifey Ikenonu, Oumar Bangoura, and Musa Imam.
Topics discussed during the workshop included Insights into the Electricity Market, Evolution of the Electricity Sector in the ECOWAS Region, Regional Electricity Sector and Roles of Sector Institutions of ECOWAS, Roles & responsibilities of ERERA as Regional Regulator, Effective Stakeholder Engagement, Consumers Satisfaction Survey in the Electricity Sector, Overview of the ECOWAS Regional Information Management System (RIMS), ECOWAS Policy for Gender Mainstreaming in Energy Access and among others.
The training was attended by 13 participants drawn from 11 the electricity regulatory bodies from the ECOWAS region that included Liberia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Togo, Niger, The Gambia and Sierra Leone. Guinea and Mali were not represented at the training because of the ongoing political situation in the two countries while Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau reportedly do not have national electricity regulators.
The ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) is the regulator of regional cross-border trade of electricity in West Africa.
The commitment of ECOWAS Member States to achieve electricity interconnections for the pooling and sharing of energy resources in the region is translated into action through the adoption of a number of provisions to establish appropriate legal and institutional framework for the development of the electricity sector in West Africa.
Within the framework of the Energy Protocol and the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Programme, the Member States of ECOWAS, in January 2008 established, the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) by Supplementary Act A/SA.2/1/08, as a specialized institution of ECOWAS.
ERERA’s general mission is to regulate cross-border electricity exchanges between ECOWAS Member States, while overseeing the implementation of the necessary conditions to ensure rationalization and reliability and contributing to setting up a regulatory and economic environment suitable for the development of the regional market.