Electricity is closely linked with consumers and regulations in the electricity sub – sector (including tariff-setting procedures) affects them in profound ways. From the average household consumer, small and medium enterprises, agro-businesses to industrial manufacturing units, electricity regulation has a substantial impact on individual livelihoods as well as the economic development of the country as a whole.
Significant regulatory reforms have been undertaken in the electricity sub-sector in Kenya and Tanzania since the early 1990s. Even though these reforms paved the way to privatisation, with unbundling of electricity generation, supply and distribution, consumer involvement in key regulatory decisions is insufficient. In countries like Kenya, there is a presence of independent regulatory agencies like Energy Regulatory Commission for regulation of, among others, the electricity sub – sector. They have a mandate to protect consumers’ interests and ensure consumer participation in regulatory decision making. Unfortunately, majority of consumers and consumer representatives in Kenya and Tanzania lack the capacity to comprehend issues related to electricity regulation and are therefore indirectly excluded from the decision making process.
With this background CUTS Nairobi has undertaken the REKETA project in Kenya and Tanzania. The idea is to build the capacity of consumer groups/CSOs in the electricity sector to deal with issues related to consumer participation in electricity regulatory/policy processes. The idea is to enable them to undertake evidence based advocacy (through research) with policymakers and regulatory agencies to effect pro-consumer changes in the electricity regulatory/policy processes. The outcome of the project will be realized through the research, advocacy and networking (RAN) model.