West Africa: An ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority Visits Lerc

Monrovia — An ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) delegation led by Mr. Yawovi Negbegble has met with members of the Board of Commissioners (BoC) and staff members of the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) to gather first-hand information on the work of the Commission and identity capacity building needs.

Mr. Negbegble, is the Principal Power Regulatory Officer at ERERA and was joined by Mr. Nutofefa K. Fiasorgbor, Junior Power Expert. The two-man delegation is in the country on a two-day mission to conduct a "twining needs assessment" at the Commission.

ERERA'S twinning program is a framework for capacity building of "professional staff members of regulatory institutions in ECOWAS Member States in which more experienced ECOWAS regulators can assist new ECOWAS regulators through exchange of work experience", Mr. Negbegble asserted.

The delegation held several separate working sessions with the various units at the Commission that included the Legal, Licensing and Public Affairs (LLPA), Economic Regulations (ERU) and Technical Regulations (TRU).

The LLPA Unit at the Commission is responsible for legal services including dispute resolution, the licensing of operators and monitoring of license conditions as well as the communications and public affairs, including customer relations. The ERU has the responsibility for electricity pricing as well as monitoring the financial and economic performance of the licensees.

While the TRU is responsible for the establishment, monitoring and enforcing technical performance and safety standards, as well as the relevant electricity industry codes.

Dr. Lawrence D. Sekajipo, Chairman of the BoC, thanked ERERA for its continuous support to the work of LERC since its creation. He recounted that ERERA over the years continued to provide training for its staff members at the Commission including the BoC.

Dr. Sekajipo told the delegation that the Commission is open to training opportunities for members of its professional staff since electricity regulation is new to Liberia. "LERC is striving to be the best regulator it can in the region", he asserted during the working session.

Currently, the European Union (EU) is providing technical support to the work of the Commission through a Long-Term Technical Assistance program with the embedment of experts at the Commission, Dr. Sekajipo told the visiting delegation.

LERC is the newest regulator in the region. Statutorily, the Commission was created in 2015 under the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia (ELL) to oversee and regulate the electricity sector in Liberia and began its operation in 2018.

The Commission is the lead entity responsible for facilitating the transformation of the electricity sector to attract investment, improve availability and adequacy as well as quicken the pace of access to electricity in a liberalized sector.

ERERA is the regulator of regional cross-border trade of electricity in West Africa and a 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 several provisions to establish an appropriate legal and institutional framework for the development of the electricity sector in West Africa.

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