The ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) is to launch a Regional Electricity Market Rules and the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) Operations Manual that will guide market participants.
It will also introduce a tariff methodology that will determine the cost of trans-border wheeling of electricity in the West Africa region.
The ERERA was created essentially to regulate cross-border trade in electricity for ECOWAS member states, while the WAPP had the responsibility of developing infrastructure, linking the countries ahead of an active power market.
In preparation for the launch, the Fifth Regional Electricity Regulatory Forum will be held in the Burkina Faso capital, Ouagadougou, on November 16, with the theme ‘Realising the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market: Opportunities and Challenges’.
It is to be attended by major players in the electricity sector from ECOWAS member states, including regulators, operators, and representatives of the Ministries of Energy and their counterparts from the Finance Ministry.
A press release issued by ERERA said the Forum would be preceded on November 14 and 15, by a joint meeting of ERERA Consultative Committees, namely the Consultative Committee of Operators and the Consultative Committee of Regulators.
It would also bring together stakeholders from the energy sector of ECOWAS Member States, including the Ministries in charge of Energy and Finance, national regulatory authorities, utility companies, parliamentarians, academics , researchers, consumer groups and other civil society organisations, banks and financial institutions, regional and international institutions, as well as development partners.
Like the others before it, the 5th Forum will serve as a platform for discussions among regulators and all stakeholders on current issues concerning the electricity market in West Africa.
“This is important because it will be the last forum before ERERA launches the eagerly awaited regional electricity market.”
The release said the ERERA
It is expected that the Consultative Committees of Operators and Regulators whose meeting will precede the 5th Forum will endorse instruments which are prerequisites for the launch of the market. These are: The Regional Electricity Market Procedures rules, ERERA Rules of Practice and Procedure and the final draft of the Model Bilateral Contracts for the Regional Electricity Market.
When approved by ERERA’s Regulatory Council, these documents will form part of the general legal and administrative instruments for the development of the regional electricity market.
The forum “will afford us an opportunity to focus on the numerous electricity-related issues facing our region. We have huge but unevenly spread potentials, and we have to be smart,” said ERERA’s Chairman, Professor Honoré Bogler.
“Several years ago, our Heads of State determined that the region should pool resources and exploit and distribute them for the benefit of our peoples”, he stated.
Professor Bogler said electricity regulation remained largely unknown to the people and authorities in West Africa, and expressed the hope that the forum would enable the regulators to convince policy makers that electricity regulation was the best way to addressing many of the power challenges in Africa.