The existence of a sound, transparent, and stable regulatory body and process is important for the government, consumers, and investors alike. With that said, new regulatory organizations often face a number of common challenges upon their inception (e.g., staffing all positions, building technical capacity, acquiring sufficient autonomy, etc.), as well as sector-specific challenges in asserting regulatory authority and achieving the institutional capacity sufficient to fully execute regulatory functions. If these challenges are left unaddressed, the regulator will face greater difficulty in creating an enabling environment for investment in the energy sector and meeting national energy goals.
With funding support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), NARUC provides assistance for new regulators in the form of conducting organizational assessments and performing gap analyses. Organizational assessments serve to analyze a new regulator’s current regulatory situation, organizational structure, and energy sector goals as a means of assessing where regulatory assistance is needed and developing a strategic framework for growth. Gap analyses can complement these assessments by identifying any challenges that limit the regulator’s overall effectiveness and providing recommendations to build technical and operational competency.
Support for the Guinea Regulatory Authority of the Electricity and Water Sectors (AREE)
Despite strong resource potential and long-term opportunities to export low-cost electricity throughout West Africa, Guinea’s power sector faces significant challenges, including aging infrastructure, high technical and commercial losses, and power theft. In 2021, NARUC supported the AREE by providing an organizational assessment designed to identify and address its overall regulatory capacities, evaluate and analyze its organizational structure, and provide recommendations for areas of capacity building support via an assessment report known as the New Regulator Assessment of Guinea. As a means of informing the report, NARUC engaged with stakeholders within the Guinean regulator, utility, government, and rural electrification departments. This assessment is an essential first step for the new regulator to define its current organizational and technical status, identify long-term goals, and provide a roadmap for capacities and regulatory frameworks to improve electricity sector governance. By following the contents of the Assessment, the AREE will be better equipped to fully comply with its legislative mandate and begin addressing energy sector challenges, both of which are key to meeting energy sector goals and attracting private investment.
Support for the Ethiopian Energy Authority (EEA)
The objective of Ethiopia’s Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II: 2016-2020) was to improve the economy and and propel it from a low-income to a middle-income country by 2025. In accordance with the plan’s energy sector goals (including goals to increase generation capacity), the EEA began taking measures to improve its technical capacity in order to better execute its responsibilities within its respective departments. With this in mind, in 2016 NARUC conducted a needs assessment and identified that a detailed analysis of the EEA’s regulatory capacities would help to inform future strategic growth for the regulator. The format of this support was based on conducting a gap analysis of the EEA, identifying its core competencies, and developing a strategic framework for growth to be used by both the EEA and USAID. Through this effort, NARUC was able to assess the EEA’s regulatory functions, identify gaps that limited the EEA’s ability to operate as a fully functioning regulator, and design a five-year framework for regulatory and technical capacity growth. As a result, the EEA gained the knowledge it needed to begin addressing the challenges that were identified, including strengthening its regulatory authority, communications practices, and dispute resolution procedures.
Support for the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)
The Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act of 2005 established the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to advance several objectives, including ensuring the safety, security, reliability, and quality of service in the production and delivery of electricity to consumers. However, following its inception, NERC faced several structural and operational challenges that hindered its ability to effectively discharge its regulatory functions. In 2016, NARUC assessed NERC’s commission structure and operations, specifically with regard to topics such as the role of commissioners vs. staff, decision-making and approval processes, and divisional and management structure. The resulting recommendations included providing leadership and management training, establishing regulatory committees, and defining an organizational hierarchy, among others. Equipped with these recommendations, NERC acquired the necessary tools to promote organizational coordination, communicate decisions more effectively, and provide staff with added direction and supervision.
Support for the Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC)
The BERC Act of 2003 contains the full range of BERC’s regulatory responsibilities, and provides a legal foundation for a strong and independent regulator. Following its inception, BERC made progress in adopting a number of required regulations listed in the Act. However, it also faced several organizational challenges, including low staffing levels, a need for additional training, and difficulty managing activity timeframes. To assist BERC on this matter, NARUC conducted a scoping trip in 2011 to assess BERC’s operational capacity and strengthen its role as a transparent, accountable, and independent regulatory authority. Through a series of interviews with BERC staff, NARUC analyzed areas for improvement such as staffing, regulatory accounting, tariff methodologies, dispute resolutions and processes, and regulating renewable energy. In doing so, NARUC was able to identify topics for capacity building assistance that are at the forefront of NARUC’s current work in Bangladesh.
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Guinea Regulatory Authority of the Electricity and Water Sectors (AREE)
Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission (BERC)
Ethiopian Energy Authority (EEA)
Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC)
 “Ethiopia Country Fact Sheet.” USAID. 2016. https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1860/EthiopiaCountryFactSheet__2016.09%20FINAL.pdf