MERA comprises five directorates as presented below:
1. Directorate of Legal Affairs
The Directorate of Legal Affairs is responsible for reviewing and recommending legislation aimed at strengthening the regulatory functions in line with the National Energy Policy. It also issues licences which stipulate conditions to enable operators conduct business in the energy sector.
The Directorate carries out the following functions:
(a) Interpretation and enforcement of energy laws, regulations and by-laws.
(b) Arbitration, mediation and coordination of hearings to resolve disputes.
(c) The production and issuance of licenses for energy operators.
(d) Representing MERA in civil and criminal proceedings by or against MERA in the Malawi Courts
2. Directorate of Economic Regulation
The Directorate of Economic Regulation is responsible for ensuring that there is effective regulation of the energy sector by providing financial and economic guidelines and advice to the Authority and Clientele. It takes lead in developing regulatory thinking on the economics of the energy systems by focusing mainly on the cost of services, the principles of charging for the energy services and cost recovery. In particular, the Directorate provides key inputs in the price control reviews, involving analysis and modelling of the costs and incomes of energy licensees, assumptions for external costs and cost drivers and income requirements.
The Directorate deploys various tools to achieve its role and these include price regulation (tariff setting) and carrying out regulatory surveys as well as financial and economic analysis of energy operators.
3. Directorate of Electricity and Renewable Energy
This Directorate of Electricity and Renewable Energy is responsible for taking lead in the development and enforcement of regulatory technical aspects for both electricity and renewable energy components and systems with particular emphasis on safety, security quality of supply, technical rules, codes and standards.
In pursuing its purpose, the Directorate carries out the following functions:
(a) Development, monitoring and review of electricity and renewable energy systems, regulations, standards and procedures.
(b) Enforcement of electricity and renewable energy regulations, standards and procedures.
4. Directorate of Finance
The Directorate of Finance is responsible for providing financial services and advice for the prudent management of financial resources by processing and managing payroll, maintaining books of accounts, and preparing financial reports and annual budgets.
The Directorate is also involved in conducting regulatory audits, exploring and advising the Authority on investment opportunities for the cash realised through levies and collecting and disbursing levies to various recipients.
The Directorate performs the following functions:
(a) Management of revenue account.
(b) Management of expenditure accounts.
(c) Collection and disbursement of levies from energy operators.
5. Directorate of Fuels and Gas
The purpose of this Directorate is “to regulate fuels and gas energy undertakings”. The Directorate is responsible for monitoring the following:
(a) the proliferation of substandard fuel and gas dispensing and storage sites which pose environmental, health and safety risks; open tender systems for fuel importation;
(b) minimum fuel operation stocks; and
(c) retails fuel prices.
The Directorate focuses on downstream regulation which involves transportation, wholesaling, retailing, storage and distribution of fuels and gas. However, there are expectations that with new discoveries of fuel and gas in the country, the Directorate will likely include upstream regulation.