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About the Authority


The Authority for Electricity Regulation, Oman ("the Authority") is the Authority established by Article (19) of the law for the regulation and privatisation of the electricity and related water sector (”'the Sector Law"). The Sector Law was promulgated by Royal Decree 78/2004 on 1 August 2004.

The Authority is competent to regulate the electricity and related water sector pursuant to Article (2) of the Sector Law.

Appointment of Members

The Government has determined that, pursuant to Article (40) of the sector law, the Authority shall have four Members. Accordingly, the Council of Ministers approved on the 01 May 2014 the appointment of the following persons as Members of the Authority:

Dr. Amer Saif Al Hinai - Chairman & non-executive Member (a part time appointment)
Ayisha Zahir Al Mawali- non-executive Member (a part time appointment)
 
Mohammed Ahmed Al Shahri - non-executive Member (a part time appointment)
Qais Saud Al Zakwani - Executive Director & Member (a full time appointment)

Members are collectively responsible for managing the Authority’s affairs and for ensuring that the Authority fulfils all of its statutory obligations (see below).

Figure 1: Organisation Structure of the Authority

The Authority has four principal sections:

"The Customer Affairs section is responsible for ensuring the interests of consumers are afforded appropriate priority and consideration in the Authority’s decisions. The section liaises with customers wishing to register complaints about service providers and who seek advice on electricity related matters. The section contributes to reviews of electricity tariffs and is tasked with approving and monitoring measures implemented by licensed suppliers and licensed distributors (including the Rural Areas Electricity Company SAOC) concerning guaranteed and overall standards of performance".

The section overses the implementation of codes of practice for:

Consumer late payments
Treatment of consumers with special needs
Promoting the efficient use of electricity

"The Economics and Financial Affairs section is responsible for setting, monitoring and ensuring compliance with RPI-X type price controls under which monopoly entities now operate. The section is also involved in the development and approval of Bulk Supply Tariffs, connection and use of system charges, and the future implementation of cost reflective tariffs (i.e. consumer tariffs for which no subsidy is provided). The section is responsible for the calculation of annual electricity subsidy in accordance with Article (18) of the Sector Law. Additional responsibilities include contributing to proposals for rural area electrification, annual reviews of the scope for further market liberalization, and other economic and financial matters".

"The Technical Directorate is responsible for approving, monitoring and ensuring compliance with the technical standards applicable to the sector. The Directorate has significant influence on the way the technical standards of the sector develop and are applied. The Directorate represents the Authority on Grid Code and Distribution Code review panels and is responsible for ensuring that entities operating in the sector act in accordance with the terms of relevant connection agreements and industry codes. The Directorate has an important role in determining disputes of a technical nature between sector entities and between entities and their customers".

"The Licensing and Legal Affairs section is responsible for monitoring the compliance of licensees and exemption holders with the terms of their licenses and exemptions and other statutory obligations. The section is also tasked with ensuring that the Authority complies with all its statutory obligations. The section works to establish clear channels of communication with various ministries and Government bodies to ensure the Authority can provide advice to licence holders with regard to statutory obligations such as environmental matters, health and safety, and Omanisation. The section provides in-house legal opinions on various matters and advises Members when recourse to external legal advice is required".

The Authority has a medium term staffing compliment of around 25, most of which are professional staff. The Authority will expand and grow in line with the implementation of the new electricity market arrangements.

Duties functions and powers of Authority

Duties

The Authority has a number of general and specific duties, largely reflecting key Government objectives for the electricity and related water sector in Oman. The Authority’s duties are set out in Article (22) of the Sector Law and include:

A duty to secure the provision of electricity and related water services in Oman
A duty to promote competition in the electricity and related water sector
A duty to secure the safe, effective and economic operation of the electricity and related water sector in the public interest
A duty to protect the interests of customers, in particular those with limited income, the elderly and sick, and a duty to prepare criteria relating to the welfare of customers and to act in accordance with such criteria
A duty to secure compliance with Government policy relating to the protection of the environment, Omanisation and Omani Content
A duty to ensure the financial and technical capabilities of licensees and to ensure companies operating efficiently can finance their activities
A duty to secure the conduct of fair and transparent competitions for new capacity and output by the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company SAOC
A duty to facilitate the privatisation of the electricity and related water sector in Oman and a duty to review on an annual basis the scope for further liberalisation of the electricity and related water sector
A duty to prepare and maintain a Public Register of all matters relating to licenses and exemptions
 

Governance duties

The Authority is also subject to the following governance duties:

a duty not to discriminate against or unduly prefer any Person
a duty to act consistently treating like cases alike and, in particular, to ensure, so far as it considers appropriate, that all licences and exemptions for the same Regulated Activities are granted in substantially the same form
a duty to minimise, insofar as it is able to do so, the regulatory burden on licence holders and exemption holders
a duty to give written reasons for its decisions
 

Functions

Article (25) of the Sector Law sets out the principal functions of the Authority which include:

Implementing the general policy of the State in relation to the electricity and related water sector in Oman, including obligations arising from international agreements (provided such obligations are not in conflict with the Sector Law)
The issue, modification (where appropriate) and revocation of licences and licence exemptions
The Authority monitors the implementation of the terms and rules of licences and licence exemptions
The Authority examines complaints submitted to customers and licence holders, enforces statutory duties and licence conditions and has powers to order compliance and to levy fines
Setting out standard technical criteria to be complied with in relation to connection and use of system standards and the maintenance and development of licencees’ systems
Settlement of certain industry disputes between licence or exemption holders, customers or other persons.
Co-ordination between relevant ministries and government units in all that is required for the development of the electricity and related water sector
 

Powers

The Sector Law provides the Authority with the powers required to perform its functions, including:

The power to grant licences and exemptions and set the terms and conditions on which they are issued
Licence modification powers (when the public interest so requires and subject to the procedure specified in Article (109) of the Sector Law)
The power to investigative and powers to require provision of information
Enforcement powers to make orders to licensees or exemption holders requiring them to comply with their statutory obligations and to impose warnings, fines, compensation
The powers to revoke Licences and Exemptions in the event of non-compliance and in accordance with their terms
Powers to issue regulations and decisions authorised by the Sector Law