ECOWAS member states kick off Phase II of regional electricity market, entrench competition, governance

Oredola Adeola

The Council of Ministers of ECOWAS has launched the second phase of the regional electricity market to guarantee a competitive operational market, promote efficiency, and empowering ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA)to regulate and govern the market by market rules and not state rules.

The second phase was launched at the 89th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers on Thursday in Abuja.

EnergyDay gathered that the Council had in 2018, launched the first phase of the market which harmonised the activities of the electricity regulatory bodies in the member states. Phase II is expected to entrench competitiveness and governance in the regional electricity supply market.

The second phase is thereby meant to make the regional electricity sector more attractive and secure for potential investors and promoters at the regional level.

 It is also incorporating provisions for the exploitation of renewable energy sources so that the region can truly align with relevant international guidelines and take advantage of related initiatives.

With the take-off of the second phase, electricity users at the regional level are assured of a better quality of service, at an affordable cost, in line with the principle of continuity, non-discrimination, take-off, and integration.

It is also the beginning of a transparent, accountable, and integrated electricity sector at the regional level.

Mr. Laurent Tossou, Chairman of ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) has assured ECOWAS citizens of cost-effective, green energy.

This is coming after the launch of the second phase of the Electricity Market in 2023.

Tossou made this known while addressing newsmen on the side-lines of the 89th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers on Thursday in Abuja.

Tossou alongside other Heads of ECOWAS Institutions administered their oath of office during the opening Session of the Ministerial Session.

He also said that after the launch of the second phase of the electricity market, ERERA will regulate and harmonise the electricity market among member states’ electricity institutions, sustainable and affordable electricity for the good of the people.

“We just finished the swearing-in ceremony, it is symbolic but very important. You know that the Heads of State have established the market in  the West Africa power pool since 2008 and they did a mission for four institutions in which we have ERERA.

“ERERA has some objectives, regulate the market of electricity, establish the rules of the electricity market and try to accompany all the countries who had the need to establish each of them the same institutions of regulatory authorities in electricity.

“Since 2018, the Ministers of ECOWAS have launched the first phase of the electricity market in which we would like to be sure that the bilateral contracts signed are well done and they can easily exchange electricity with each other.

“They also expect that the grid will be done from Nigeria to the Gambia on one way to facilitate the communication, the trans-border exchange of electricity between each country of ECOWAS.

“Now, ERERA is preparing the second phase of the electricity market because we need to be in competition.

“The market consists of the producers, the clients, and also the government and we need to establish competition in order to help the people of each country to have affordable electricity, sustainable electricity, and a cost that is very good for each person.

“The objective of ERERA is to establish all the roles in order to monitor this kind of market which is very critical because many things are involved, legal affairs, economic affairs, and technical affairs.

“And ERERA is in charge of establishing all the roles to monitor this electricity market.

“This meant to inform each country that we need to build together this market because electricity is the base of development and we are sure that they will follow us on the rules that are going to be established,” Tossou said.

Tossou, while speaking on the region of renewable energy, said that the focus of the  21st century is a sustainable and effective power supply with green energy.

The ERERA Chairman said that Africa and the West African sub-region is blessed with a lot of natural resources including renewable energy sources which will be efficiently harnessed in a bid to address the dangers of climate change.

Tossou however noted that the region will explore and develop a framework in order to harness the potential of renewable energy sources.