Companies will be required to make investments aimed at achieving energy efficiency targets set by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority or face penalties should proposals contained in the Energy (Energy management Regulations) 2020 pass.
The draft law currently gathering public opinion will also require companies to employ qualified energy managers, audit power consumption every four years and spell out plans to achieve efficiency in their premises as the country pushes for better use in business premises.
The proposed regulations will also allow Epra officers to access business premises and conduct energy audits to push them into implementing conservation measures.
Any attempts to deny officials access will be punishable by fines including Sh10 million for lying to auditors.
“Provision of false information to the authority will be punishable by a fine not exceeding 10 million Kenya shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both,” read the proposed regulations.
The sector regulator will also be required to publish the minimum energy performance benchmarks for sectors of the economy based on existing best practices against which companies will be audited by the accredited personnel.
Power consumption indices will be reviewed every year and published by Epra, which will also classify facilities by energy consumption into high, medium and low users.
Companies found to be consuming energy above the benchmarks established will be compelled to submit a detailed audit report compiled by an accredited energy auditor and a detailed remedial plan of action to reduce use to acceptable levels.
Businesses will be required to maintain records relating to energy consumption at their facilities including their monthly use, fuel (including biomass and petroleum products), and water. The reports will have to be submitted every financial year before the end of June.
Failure to keep the information will attract a fine of up to Sh1 million, a year in jail or both.
Energy savings certificates
After energy audits, Epra will then issue businesses with energy savings certificates categorised as white, green for those who exceed and meet standards respectively
Energy auditors who will require authorisation from Epra to have their details maintained on the website where energy managers, audit firms and service companies, and the status of their accreditation certificates will be displayed.
Regulations according to some manufacturers will create an additional cost of doing business with the investments expected to be made on buying modern and energy efficient facilities.
It will also involve mandatory employment of an accredited energy manager responsible for co-ordination and promotion of energy efficiency and conservation programmes.
“While there is no motivation to drive businesses into these energy efficiency investments, we see this as an increase to the cost of doing business and an addition to the pile of regulations we already have in the market. We all want to be energy efficient but this should be a business-driven strategy supported by government, not one forced down on companies with threats of fines,” said a chief executive officer of a manufacturing firm based on Nairobi who did not want her identity revealed not to be seen as preempting the industry response set to be presented to Epra.