International exchange of experience in Oslo
Representatives from energy regulators in Angola, Bhutan, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar, Tanzania and Uganda recently gathered in Oslo to share knowledge and experience.
The seminar topic was Electricity Sector Regulators’ Roles and Responsibilities in Practice, addressed in a combination of lectures and discussions. Among the participants, the experience varied. Participants from Bhutan, Tanzania and Uganda have between ten and twenty years’ experience as a regulator authority, while several other countries are in the early stages of building up a national regulator authority.
When asked why NVE organized this seminar, the facilitator, NVE’s Kirsten Westgaard replied: “We wanted to bring together representatives from different regulators, both to learn from experts in the field, and to network. We invited experienced electricity regulators to share their knowhow with those on the starting line. Our ambition was to present the theoretical basis for the regulation and show how it can be brought into action.”
That the event, financed by NORAD, brought together different experiences from countries with different challenges provided a good practical learning forum. “Several participants said what they valued most, was the sharing of experience among all the participants”, Westgaard said.
Country specific models from the various countries illustrated the challenges that all countries meet, although in different contexts. It also demonstrated that there are many alternative measures and ways to go about solving the challenges in the legal frameworks and in practice.
The participants where vetted after invitations based on an ambition to bring together professionals with different backgrounds. Among the group was a multidisciplinary mix of lawyer, engineers, managers and others. In order to receive input from authorities with relevant experience from developing countries, NVE extended invitations to Tanzania, Uganda and the Regional Electricity Regulator Association of Southern Africa (RERA). RERA sent a delegate from Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA).
NVE has current capacity building programmes in the electricity sectors of Angola, Bhutan, Liberia and Myanmar. NVE is exploring the possibilities for institutional cooperation in Mozambique and Tanzania. All of these countries are in the process of implementing recent energy or electricity laws, re-regulating the sector.
The multicultural group reported overall satisfaction with the organization and content of the seminar. In their input on possible follow-up event, some suggested addressing technical regulation, others called for a seminar on licensing conditions.
The seminar was intense, and some had hoped for more time for shopping and sight-seeing in Oslo. On the other hand, the level of cost in Norway was shockingly high, to those visiting Europe for the first time. They seem to agree everything was too expensive in Norway, except electricity.