From ECB to Energy Regulator
The transformation of the Electricity Control Board to a broader Energy Regulator is well on track with the final industry adjustments taking place. The transformation was expected to be completed earlier this year but was delayed due to the inherent lengthy legal process. Although a final name for the new regulator and launch date is yet to be decided, members of the ECB remain optimistic that the transition will take place soon.
According to the manager of technical regulation, Dr. Maxwell Muyambo, all upstream energy activities will still be regulated by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. “The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) will continue regulating oil and gas resources. All upstream activities such as the exploration and extraction will be regulated by the government.” The new energy regulator will therefore manage all downstream activities. Dr Muyambo said,“For the ECB, transformation simply implies expanded scope of work. In addition to regulating electricity the ECB (or more precisely, its successor) will also be responsible for gas, renewable energy and distribution infrastructure for gas and petroleum products for now.” This move is meant to insure cost efficiency by allowing a specialised focus on both ends of the production chain. “The transformation of the ECB from regulating electricity only to regulating electricity and other forms of energy was dictated by the need to regulate additional resources in a cost-effective manner without creating another regulator. This is actually in line with regional trends ” stated Dr Muyambo.
With alternative energy technologies being investigated on a wide front, the issue of nuclear power is also discussed in official circles. According to the ECB if that form of power is eventually introduced within Namibia, a separate regulator for nuclear energy will be established, “The government is currently working on the fundamental requirements for establishing a policy and regulatory framework for nuclear energy through engaging experienced development partners. ” stated Dr Muyambo. Although Namibia’s open desert areas make it favourable to set up a nuclear plant, other sources within the uranium exploration fraternity feel that regional demand for energy still needs to grow.
According to the experts, one nuclear plant within Namibia will not only meet the total demand for energy within Namibia, but the energy will need to be exported.
Meanwhile, electricity is also expected to increase as of 01 July 2013 The increase comes as a result of a levy on electricity supplied by the Nampower. Namibian consumers will face an increase of 1.02 cents per kilowatthour. The ECB said the new tariff schedules will be communicated to end-users.