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Countries adopt RERA cross-border guidelines

April 2013
SEVEN SADC Member States have adopted common guidelines governing cross-border power trading. The guidelines for national regulators were developed by the Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA), and adopted by SADC Energy Ministers in 2010.


The RERA Guidelines on Cross Border Power Trading in Southern Africa aim to provide an enabling framework for cross-border trade and investment in infrastructure that will reduce some of the uncertainties deterring investment and undermining efforts to improve security of supply through cross-border trading.

They represent the first concrete step to harmonising national regulatory systems and encouraging large crossborder transactions by ensuring that regulatory arrangements in the region are compatible.

There are a large number of proposed cross-border generation and transmission projects in southern Africa that are not moving forward due to regulatory constraints, despite being technically and economically feasible.

In most SADC countries, authorities responsible for regulating cross-border trading are the national electricity regulators, which have powers to make decisions on tariffs, licensing and service standards. However, energy ministers in most SADC Member States also retain some decision-making powers.

RERA members that have adopted the guidelines for implementation are the regulatory bodies of Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, and Zambia.

A number of other SADC Member States including Botswana, Madagascar and Swaziland are in the process of establishing separate regulators.

The RERA regulatory guidelines focus on the decisions affecting cross-border trading, regardless of whether the decision-maker is an independent agency or the government.

The aim of the guidelines, written in the form of principles, rules and procedures, is to ensure that efficient crossborder deals are not constrained by unclear or complicated processes for making decisions.

The guidelines do not have a formal legal status over the decisions of individual national regulators.

In order to have legal effect, national regulators will need to implement the guidelines in their own countries.