Will ERC’s Rebranding End Corruption in The Energy Sector?

Will ERC’s Rebranding End Corruption in The Energy Sector?

Kenya’s
energy sector regulator has rebranded promising better service delivery with an
expanded mandate.

Following the
enactment of the Energy Act 2019 and the Petroleum Act 2019, the Energy
Regulatory Commission (ERC) will now be known as the Energy and Petroleum
Regulatory Authority (EPRA).

Expanded mandate

EPRA’s Director
General, Pavel Oimeke, says that the Authority now has the
expanded mandate to supervise
and regulate upstream petroleum operations.

These functions
were previously managed by the Ministry of Energy.

“As we pursue
our dream of becoming a world class energy regulator, we will as we have done
in the past – continue to seek ways of realizing energy efficiency in our
homes, businesses and the economy. We want to promote the freedom of choice for
energy consumers as well as innovations that will unleash our energy
abundance,” said Oimeke.

The
rebranding is meant to align with the Energy Act 2019 after the Presidential
assent of the Energy Act 2019 and the Petroleum Act 2019 on 12th March 2019.

In the Authority’s
expanded mandate, EPRA will also regulate the exploration, production,
processing, transportation, storage, importation and sale of coal bed methane
gas and other energy forms.

Corruption in the energy sector

Despite the
unfettered corruption in the energy sector especially at Kenya Power, Oimeke
and Energy CS Charles Keter failed to assure Kenyans that the rampant vice will
be eradicated.

Recently,
Kenya Power has been under sustained pressure to refund billions illegally taken
from Kenyans through a billing scandal that has taken root at the company.

To try
assuage Kenyans, the power utility monopoly Kenya is pushing a campaign to
ostensibly make aware the public regarding fraudsters.

The company says
that it has stepped up public awareness campaigns to raise awareness on the
billing processes and combating fraud. 

Billing has
been a thorn in the flesh for the company which is facing a class action suit
by Kenyans who are against its billing malpractices.

With the
#SwitchOffKPLC campaign gaining momentum, the company is seemingly trying to
clean up its act albeit missing the point as Kenyan.

The campaign
organisers have accused the Oimeke-led EPRA of failing in its mandate to ensure
that Kenyans have affordable power regardless of status.

In the LPG sub-sector,
EPRA says that its new regulations are due to ‘increased public safety
concerns.

However, many
feel that the Authority is killing small business while monopolising the LPG
market for the big players in the sector.

There are
fears that with the new regulations, there will be a cooking
gas shortage
since the pooling system has been abolished.

Is your
cooking gas genuine?

Among the
responsibilities that the defunct ERC led by Oimeke seems to have failed on
include the ease of identifying legit cooking gas by Kenyans.

Despite the
deaths, maiming and loss of property occasioned by explosions caused by faulty
cylinders, ERC had not given Kenyans a way of authenticating their LPG
cylinders.

Additionally,
there was no clarity on who owned the cylinders and what the legal recourse was
in case of death caused by the cylinders.

It remains to
be seen if the Authority will get down to work and redeem itself or if the
rebrand is just cosmetic.

administrator

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