Energy regulators of emerging markets go one step further towards reinforced cooperation
Associations of energy regulators representing emerging economies met in Budapest on 11 July at the 5th High-Level Meeting of Regional Associations of Emerging Markets, an annual meeting organised this year by the Energy Regulators Regional Association (ERRA). This customary annual meeting welcomed participants from 7 Associations representing developing markets from Africa, the Mediterranean, Latin America and Europe and marked a progression in the relations among participating Associations which agreed on reinforcing their cooperation by holding some technical and institutional activities together.
Participants finalised a Framework Document on Cooperation that formalises their future cooperation, with the view of officially signing the document during the 7th edition of the World Forum on Energy Regulation (WFER VII) in Cancun, in March 2018. The proposed agreement aims at consolidating and institutionalizing synergies among regulators of emerging markets, through transfer of knowledge and experience, sharing and establishing research documents and publications, joint support of the Parties’ events and activities such as the World Forum on Energy Regulation (WFER). The draft agreement encourages and facilitates the sharing of the Parties’ specific areas of expertise and experience by unlocking and capitalizing on their respective complementarities, with a view of improving the attractiveness and stability of market conditions for energy investments, establishing stronger consumer protection measures and promoting universal access to sustainable energy.
As part of the important updates shared, some participants stated that the calculation of tariffs for transmission and distribution remains at the forefront of the agenda for emerging networks of regulators. They also agreed that capacity building is key to increase the skills, expertise and capability of national regulators’ staff. Future topics for training will include reforms of the electricity sector, market rules and tariffs. Some Associations including member regulators from different continents said that while this was challenging, as regulatory models were sometimes very different, these diversified approaches to regulation also presented a strong advantage: they expose member regulators to a variety of possible solutions to current and future market issues as well as enhance a common dialogue on how to establish shared and sustainable regulatory models.
During the discussions on the new competences and characteristics of regulators, the associations indicated that the new technologies, evolving market structures, off-grid solutions, penetration of distributed generation, “behind the meter” generation and energy storage had a strong impact on them. The extent to which regulators can and should adapt to these new technologies was questioned as well as whether the regulators stayed abreast of these new technologies, which require new types of skills and qualified staff. The organisations participating to the meeting concluded that international cooperation was crucial in overcoming this challenge. Another new characteristic raised was the increasing consumer focus of regulators and the evolution of prosumers. Sooner or later there will be no distinction between consumers and prosumers, stated the organisations.
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