The Board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a grant of US$1.5m to advance intra-regional harmonization of electricity regulations and drive cross-border power trading in the COMESA region. This will be implemented through COMESA’s energy regulatory arm -the Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA).
The two-year project seeks to provide tools for harmonizing regulatory frameworks to facilitate the smooth and timely completion, utilization and operation of regional energy infrastructure-a move that is expected to further enhance regional electricity trade, which is critical to COMESA noted RAERESA Chief Executive Officer Dr Mohamedain El-Seif.
He added that the grants will fund technical assistance to promote the development and adoption of regional electricity regulatory principles, enhance capacity to monitor utility performance across the region, conduct a cross-border analysis of electricity tariffs, and develop a centralized database management system in both blocs.
The project comprises four components which include Elaboration and Adoption of Regional Electricity Regulatory Principles (RERP) and Key Performance Indicators for COMESA. It will involve technical assistance to COMESA for the adoption of regulatory performance indicators from the Bank’s flagship Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa (ERI), contextualization and adoption of same and application of the adopted indicators for monitoring uniform regulatory performance in the region by RAERESA.
Component two will involve technical assistance to COMESA for the adoption and application of uniform Key Performance Indicators for monitoring utility performance across the region and support the collection and reporting on these indicators.
The project will also assist the region to have a harmonized comparison of electricity tariffs and develop a Cost Reflectivity Assessment Framework Tool (CRAFT). This component will involve technical assistance to COMESA to undertake a comparative analysis of electricity tariffs and drivers of tariffs across the electricity value chain in the region and developing a cost reflectivity assessment tool to track progress made by countries in migrating their tariffs towards cost reflectivity levels.
The fourth component is the Development of Information and Database Management System (IDBMS). This will involve technical assistance to RAERESA to develop a centralized database management system that will provide a platform for collecting data from member countries, store and disseminate regulatory and other relevant energy information.