Net – Metering Kenya

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​The Energy Act, 2019 passed in March, 2019 introduced various changes highlights of which were discussed in our last article titled ‘Highlights of Kenya’s Energy Act, 2019’ which was published in the May edition of the E|News newsletter.


Of the changes introduced by the Act, a more significant one concerned the introduction of net-metering. This development has been long awaited by stakeholders given the potential of benefits net-metering has with regard to managing energy costs. It is an attractive prospective especially in the current context of the plummeting cost of solar PV technology and the ever increasing oil prices that factor in the cost of grid supplied electricity.


Net-metering by the most optimistic projections holds great promise for consumers of reduced or even non-existent electricity bills and increased agency over ones energy consumption and obtaining a measure of control back from the national utility, Kenya Power that enjoys a monopoly over electricity supply.

 

Definition of Net-Metering

Net metering most simply is a system that allows a person who generates electricity to sell excess capacity back to the grid with the intention of offsetting the cost of the electricity they consume from the national grid.


Net metering is defined more formally in the Energy Act, 2019 in section 162 as follows:


a system that operates in parallel with the distribution system of a licensee and that measures, by means of one or more meters, the amount of electrical energy that is supplied:
 
  • by the distribution licensee or retailer to a consumer who owns the renewable energy generator, and

 

  • by the consumer who owns the renewable energy generator to the distribution licensee or retailer.


As you will note from the broad definition, any system that can measure the energy output from the consumer end and their consumption from the grid and provide some means of accounting for and compensating the consumer for the electricity they have supplied to the grid will qualify as a net metering system.

 

 

 

 

Steps to Operationalization

The provisions in the Energy Act, 2019 are not sufficient to enable the deployment of net-metering. It will be necessary for the regulations to be made under the Act to provide a clear framework regulating how consumers on the one hand and Kenya Power on the other will participate in a net metering program.

 

As at the time of the writing of this article we are aware that the Ministry of Energy has set up an ad-hoc committee to work on the implementation of the new Act. The Ministry of Energy will, upon consideration of the committee's recommendations and upon consulting all relevant stakeholders, develop the necessary regulations and guidelines. This process will take time and it would be foolhardy to give a prediction on when it will be completed. However once the necessary regulatory framework is in place, it will fall to Kenya Power to make net-metering available as a product to the market, setting the tariffs, providing the necessary equipment and technical support to enable full deployment.

 

 

 

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