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ECOWAS approves new regional electricity market regulation



Ministers of Energy from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member states have approved ERERA’s Rules on Sanctions, one of the documents critical to the functioning of the regional electricity market.

The ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) is the regulator of regional cross-border trade of electricity in West Africa.

The commitment of ECOWAS Member States to achieve electricity interconnections for the pooling and sharing energy resources in the region is translated into action through the adoption of a number  of provisions to establish appropriate legal  and institutional framework for the development of the electricity sector in West Africa.

The approval of the document, which took place in Cotonou recently, was on the recommendation of a preceding meeting of energy experts. The document will be submitted to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for adoption.

The Rules on Sanctions, one of the documents considered by the ministers at their meeting, is necessary to ensure the implementation, monitoring and control of the obligations established in ECOWAS Community legislation.

Specifically, the Rules on Sanctions define the sanctions that ERERA will apply in case of breaches of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market Regulation.

According to the approved document, “the Rules on Sanctions are applicable to any breach of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market Regulation committed by any participant of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market, or by the System and Market Operator, or by any transmission system operator or transmission service provider of an ECOWAS Member State, or by any entity obliged to comply with the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market Regulation”.

The Chairman of ERERA, Prof. Honoré Bogler, explained that there are serious, significant and minor types of breaches, and that any of these may occur during market transactions, making it inconsistent with the Regional Electricity Market Regulation.

According to him, Electricity Market Regulation includes all applicable decisions, rules and regulations related to the electricity market and rules ensuring cross-border exchange and transport of electricity across the 14 mainland countries of ECOWAS.

These legal instruments include the Regional Market Rules, the Regional Transmission Tariff Methodology, the WAPP Operation Manual, the Model Bilateral Agreements, the Regional Market Procedures, and the Rules of Practice and Procedures.

Bogler further explained that, among others, a sanction may be determined by the nature and seriousness of the breach, the damage caused to the regional or national economy, or to the Regional Electricity Market, the repetition of breaches, as well as previous behaviour of the defaulting person.
ERERA’s functions include to overseeing the application and respect of technical rules and norms applicable to the regional electricity market as well as sanctioning defaulting operators in case of non-compliance with applicable regulation.

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