Parliament has passed into law a Bill that calls for the establishment of Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority, to regulate the energy sector.The Authority shall be a body corporate with a common seal, capable of suing and being sued.
Minister of Minerals, Water and Energy Resources, Kitso Mokaila said the authority would be responsible for providing an efficient regulatory framework for the regulated sector in accordance with the Act, with the primary mandate of providing the economic regulation of the sector.“It would be responsible for ensuring sustainable and secure supplies in the regulated sector. Ensuring tariffs in the regulated sector are fixed on the basis of a tariff methodology that has been set up in a transparent manner taking into account government policy on cross subsidies between classes of consumers and setting and maintaining standards,” Mokaila stated.
The authority would also be expected to protect and preserve the environment as well as ensuring that the regulation of the energy sector is done in accordance with the best international regulatory practice. According to the minister the authority will have functions such as regulating tariffs, including allowed revenue for regulated entities and regulate coal supply agreements between collieries, coal suppliers and price-regulated generators. The seal of the authority, according to Mokaila shall be such device as may be determined by the Board and shall be kept by the Chief Executive Officer.
Powers and functions of the Authority will be exercised and performed by the Board appointed by the Minister, Mokaila explained. The minister noted that funds for the Authority will consist of monies appropriated by parliament, funds borrowed with the approval of the finance minister to cover short-term cash flow requirement among others. According to the proposed Act the authority will establish and maintain a non-discriminatory and efficient regulatory framework to be followed by all regulated entities in the sector. A person shall not provide a service under a regulated sector unless licensed to provide such service in the prescribed manner, reads the proposed Act. Mokaila revealed that any person who contravenes the provisions of this Act would be committing an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P30 000 or in the case of a corporation, to a fine not exceeding 10 percent of its annual turnover.
This Bill comes after Member of Parliament for Gaborone Bonnington South Ndaba Gaolathe tabled a motion in Parliament calling for the establishment of an independent regulatory body for water and energy sector. The motion, which was supported by minister Mokaila, was adopted by Parliament last week Friday. Some BDP MPs however maintained that the Bill was not as a result of Gaolathe’s motion but is something that has been on the pipeline. Gaolathe embraced the Bill by the minister indicating that they will support the Act all the way with one common goal of seeing Batswana benefit.