Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has embarked on a process of reviewing the legal framework governing the registration and issuance of permits to renewable energy and electrical installation persons in a bid to align the laws with new developments in the electricity industry.
The legal framework, comprising Energy Regulation By-laws and Electricity By-laws of 2009 and 2012 respectively, provides for the issuance of electrical installations permits to ensure that only those are licensed are allowed to be involved in electrical installation works. MERA has been issuing electrical installations permits since 2010.
In September 2016, MERA engaged stakeholders from Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu to sensitize them on the proposed new legal framework as well as to get their input.
Chairperson of the Installations Permit Committee and MERA Board Member Mr. Peterson Zembani said it is important to uphold responsive regulation. “In order to respond to issues and developments in electrical installations works, we needed to review and change a number of issues such as classification of permits and qualification requirements,” he said.
Mr. Zembani pointed out the increase in electrical fire accidents and proliferation of substandard renewable energy materials as some of the issues that have compelled MERA to review its regulations.
“To ensure safety and value for money it is essential that property owners and users engage persons who are technically competent to install and maintain electrical installations,” he added.
The Electricity Act empowers MERA to among other things: Issue various electrical licences/permits; Monitor and enforce acceptable quality service delivery to customers; and also to carry out inquiries and investigations relating to electricity accidents and other matters.
MERA recognises the importance of stakeholder participation and the need to facilitate common understanding on matters relating to the energy regulation.