ERB EYES OFF-GRID POWER SYSTEM INVESTORS

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By NATION REPORTER

THE Energy Regulations Board (ERB) has developed a framework to persuade investors to consider investing in the off-grid system in Zambia’s energy sector.

ERB executive director Langiwe Hope Lungu said this during a media briefing in Livingstone on the side-lines of the Peer Review regarding Zambia’s regulatory framework for off-grid system held at David Livingstone Spa Hotel on Thursday.

Off-grid is a system that is not connected to the power grid and operates independently off the power grid.

Ms Lungu told journalists that the proposed framework was developed more than six years ago, before many new developments in the off-grid space in countries in Eastern and Southern Africa with new approaches to regulate off-grid systems emerged.

Ms Lungu said off-grid solutions were the most viable solutions for expanding access to modern electricity services, for Zambia’s low population density areas outside the largest cities.

Ms Lungu said under the off-grid system, investors investing in the energy sector would be able to recover their capital and operational costs from what they would be collecting.

She observed that it was from that background that the board had decided to encourage investors to consider investing in the off-grid system in Zambia.

“Zambia currently does not have a comprehensive and operational regulatory framework for off-grid power systems. In 2011, CORE international developed the draft regulatory framework for off-grid system for ERB and the framework includes discussions and recommendations on the cooperation between ERB and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) licensing, quality of service and pricing regulation, and monitoring and evaluation for the off grid system,” she said.

“USAID, through its power Africa programme is therefore seeking ways to help Zambia attract investment in the off-grid and they have given us US$750,000 towards that programme. Ms Lungu said that the peer review on Zambia’s regulatory framework for off-grid systems being held in Livingstone is the second activity to take place under the newly established Zambia Energy Regulatory Partnership between the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) and the Energy Regulations Board of Zambia supported by the USAID.

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