Industry regulator of renewable energy, electricity and downstream petroleum subsector, Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has announced that there will be no extension dates for huge power consumers to perform energy audits.This follows after the Commission issued a statutory deadline on September 28, 2015 for companies to conduct energy audits. The energy audit is a continuous process conducted every three years to ensure that commercial and industrial users submit an application and compile with the Energy (Energy Management) Regulations 2012.
The Energy Regulations 2012 requires that all audits be done by a licensed energy auditor and the audit reports, implementation plans and energy policies submitted to ERC. Also, designated facilities will be required to at least meet 50 per cent of the energy audit.
Speaking in an interview, ERC Director General, Joseph Ng’ang’a said “While carrying out energy audits, we look at companies that consume more than 180,000kWh, what kind of bulbs have been installed, air conditioners, what systems are in place to prove that a company is saving on energy. After all these are confirmed, proposals are made for a company to demonstrate that it fits to receive a compliance certificate.”
Currently, 2,450 commercial and industrial users of power who are either involved in production or processing heat are not compliant, whilst 1,050 are compliant after they sent submissions on energy management as they wait to be awarded certificates.
Eng. Ng’ang’a reckons “It is not mandatory for the companies to be awarded compliance certificates. A company that has complied with all the provisions can voluntarily apply to be awarded the certificate. More so, the facilities will have to implement at least 50per cent of the audit report recommendations for them to be deemed to be fully compliant.”
This exercise will help in saving at least 30 per cent of power per institution within the three year period so as to reduce energy costs, especially for industries, to allow cheap manufactured goods. Those who fail to comply according to Regulation 19; ‘Any person who commits an offence under these regulations shall, unless otherwise specified in the Regulations, be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one million shillings, or to a maximum term of imprisonment of one year, or to both.’
Some of the directives that ERC is advocating for all companies that consume more than 180,000 kWh is with regards to regulations 8 and 9.
Regulation 8 states that:
I. The owner or occupier shall take measures to realize at least fifty percent of the identified and recommended energy savings specified in the energy investment plan by the end of three years and thereafter at every audit reporting date.
II. An owner or occupier to whom these Regulations apply may investigate the inclusion of the relevant components of an energy investment plan into a project to be registered under the clean development mechanisms or any other carbon finance mechanism which may be in place from time to time.
Further, Regulation 9 says
I. Every designated facility shall submit an annual implementation report.
II. A facility owner or occupier who fails to submit an implementation report within the stipulated time shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding thirty thousand shillings for each day or part thereof that the breach continues.
III. The Commission or its agent may conduct an inspection to verify compliance with the implementation report.
Presently only two firms British Tobacco and Mombasa Cement have been awarded Energy Compliance certificate following an energy audit conducted at their firms. The firms applied to the Commission for issuance of a certificate for a period of three years. With successful compliance to the Energy Management Regulations, Mombasa Cement has managed to save 5,745,430 kWh which is equivalent to KES 53,865,015 of estimated savings.
ERC continues to encourage large power consumers comprising of industries located around Nairobi to compile with energy audit processes. The commercial and industrial companies account for about 60 per cent of the country’s total consumption. The targeted facilities consist of commercial buildings, hotels, institutions such as universities and industries, among others. ERC-licensed auditors charge up to KES 2 million for the undertaking that can last up to a month. The ERC has licensed 20 energy audit firms and 39 energy auditors to undertake the exercise.