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BERA to issue energy licenses by December

Publishing Date : 20 November, 2017


Botswana Energy Regulatory Authority (BERA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rose Seretse has hinted that corporations in the energy sector that have applied for licenses will know their fate before the end of December.

BERA is the brainchild of President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama and Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Sadique Kebonang who is also a parliament representative for Lobatse constituency.
Kebonang also ensured that BERA headquarters are placed in Lobatse, perhaps as his legacy and as a way of bringing back life to the now turned ghost town. Kebonang, Khama and cabinet also made sure the regulatory body started operation with a fat budget.

So far, with exception to board members and the CEO, top employees of the parastatal are said to be on F2 government scale salaries of close to P40 000 as the parastatal is currently on a recruitment rampage. Organisations that BERA will license are drawn in the electricity; petroleum products; coal; natural gas, solar energy sectors and other forms of renewable energies.

Speaking to WeekendPost this week, Seretse explained that they have been receiving applications since the organizations started operation in September. “At the moment no one has been given licenses but by December this year we would have given all those that qualify responses,” the state owned new enterprise CEO told this publication. Seretse emphasised that the license is not automatic to organizations as the energy sector corporations are subject to scrutiny and meeting conditions before being issued with the licenses.

According to Seretse, those that do not meet the requirements for licensing will be advised to improve their proposals for the license and will continue to be mentored. In terms of the fees, she said the Authority is currently consulting on fees to consider for the organizations applying for licenses. “There will be some fees to charge and we are consulting on the subject. We are also asking people to submit in their companies, shareholders and business plans – to see whether they deserve licensing or not,” Seretse said.

The new BERA Act 2016 provides that no person shall provide a service under a regulated energy sector unless he is issued with a licence. Section 34.(1) of the new law states “a person shall not provide a service under a regulated sector unless he or she is issued with a licence in the prescribed manner, by the Authority authorizing him or her to provide such service.”

The section further states under subsection (2) that “any person who contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding P30 000 or, in the case of a corporation, to a fine not exceeding 10 percent of its annual turnover, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, or to both.” 

Additionally, it is said that licences will be issued at a fee which includes application fees and annual licence fees among others.  However, the fees are believed will be reasonable, justifiable and appropriate for the type of activity. Meanwhile, at the end of every BERA investigations, if the Authority is satisfied that a contravention of the Act or condition of a licence has taken place, it may subject to Section 46: amend, suspend or revoke a licence; impose such fines as it may consider appropriate; and issue any necessary direction to the affected persons requiring them to take necessary steps to remedy the situation or desist from the contravention.

As a new entrant, BERA is responsible for licensing activities in the energy sectors; and balancing the interests of consumers, customers and licensees of the regulated entities including regulating network access for independent power producers, privately financed projects in the regulated sector. It also monitors and inspects those licences and enforces licence obligations and oversees project development in the regulated sector as well as ensures environmental compliance. Meanwhile WeekendPost has also established that the stakeholders are mostly concerned about BERA’s “transparency” and “independence” in executing its mandate.



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