Review of the Energy Act, 2019
The Energy Act, 2019 (the Act) came into effect on 28th March 2019 this year, repealing the Energy Act, 2006 (the Repealed Act), the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board Order No. 131 of 2012 and the Geothermal Resources Act, 1982. The Energy Act has consolidated the laws relating to energy in Kenya.
The following are the key provisions captured by the Act and the repealed Energy Act, 2006:
|KEY POINTS||ENERGY ACT 2006||ENERGY ACT 2019|
|1.||Government Obligations||The Repealed Act did not contain provisions on energy policy and integrated energy plan.||The Government shall facilitate the provision of affordable
energy services to all persons in Kenya.The Cabinet Secretary shall therefore develop and implement a strategy to ensure that all households are connected to a supply of electricity by 2030.
|2.||Promotion of Energy Investments||The Repealed Act did not contain provisions on energy policy and integrated energy plan.||The National and County Governments shall facilitate the acquisition of land for energy infrastructure development
in accordance with the law.
|3.||Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA)
||Formerly called the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
The rights, duties, obligations, assets and liabilities of the ERC which subsisted prior to the Act coming into force will automatically be transferred to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA).
|EPRA has wide regulatory, monitoring, assessment,
coordination, licensing, certification, inspection, audit
investigative and enforcement functions touching on energy and petroleum in Kenya.
|4.||Powers of the EPRA||The rights, duties, obligations, assets and liabilities of the ERC which subsisted prior to the Act coming into force will automatically be transferred to EPRA.||Some of the powers of the EPRA shall include the powers to:
(a) issue, renew, modify, suspend or revoke licenses and
(b) set, review and approve contracts, tariffs and charges
(c) set, review and adjust electric power tariffs and
(d) formulate, set, enforce and review environmental,
(e) approve electric power purchase and network service
(f) investigate and determine complaints or disputes
(g) enter, inspect and search any premises where an offence
(h) issue orders or directions to ensure compliance with
(i) impose such sanctions and fines not exceeding KES.
(j) enter, inspect and search any premises at which any
(k) issue orders either requiring acts or things to be
(l) Impose such sanctions and civil fines not exceeding
(m) take or remove, for analysis, testing or for use in
|5.||Energy and Petroleum Tribunal (the Tribunal)
||Formerly the Energy Tribunal under the Repealed Act.||Members of the Tribunal
The Tribunal shall consist of not more than seven (7)
|6.||Jurisdiction of the Tribunal||Mostly similar provisions.||The Tribunal shall have jurisdiction to hear and determine
all matters referred to it relating to the energy and
petroleum sector (excluding trial of criminal offences)
arising under the Act or any other Act.The Tribunal shall have original civil jurisdiction on any dispute between a licensee and a third party or between licensees.The Tribunal shall also have appellate jurisdiction over
the decisions of the EPRA and any licensing authority and
may refer any matter back to the Authority for
re-consideration.The Tribunal shall have power to grant equitable reliefs
including but not limited to injunctions, penalties,
damages, specific performance.
|7.||Power of Review and Appeals from the Tribunal
||The provisions were largely like those contained in the Act.||The Tribunal may, on its own motion or upon application by an aggrieved party, review its judgments and orders.Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Tribunal may,
within thirty (30) days from the date of the decision or
order, appeal to the High Court.
|8.||Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation
||The Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation
has taken over the functions of the Rural Electrification
|The Corporation shall perform such functions and exercise
such powers relating to the oversight and management of
rural electrification programme.
|9.||Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (the Agency)
||The Repealed Act did not provide for the Agency, however, the same was provided for under the Kenya Nuclear
Electricity Board Order, No. 131 of 2012.
|The Act provides specific objects and functions of the
Nuclear Power and Energy Agency (the Agency). It states that the Agency shall implement the country’s nuclear energy programme and carry out research, development activities in the energy and nuclear power sector.The Agency has the power to enter collaborative programmes
with other countries, international and national
organizations in relation to nuclear electricity research
and development. It will be interesting to observe our
country build its capacity in the nuclear energy sector.
|10.||Vesting of Renewable Energy||The Repealed Act did not have elaborate provisions on the vesting of renewable energy.||All unexploited renewable energy resources under or in any
land vests in the National Government subject to any rights
which, by or under any written law, have been or are
granted or recognized as being vested in any other person.This means that private persons who identify potential renewable energy resources will need to apply to the National Government.
|11.||Establishment of Renewable Energy Resource Advisory Committee||The Repealed Act did not provide for a Renewable Energy Resource Advisory Committee.||The Renewable Energy Resource Advisory Committee shall
advise the Cabinet Secretary on:(a) the criteria for allocation of renewable energy resource;(b) licensing of renewable energy resource areas;(c) management of water towers and catchment areas;(d) development of multi-purpose projects such as dams and
(e) reservoirs for power generation, portable water, flood
(f) management and development of renewable energy
|12.||Geothermal Resources||The Repealed Act did not have elaborate provisions on Geothermal energy.||All un-extracted geothermal resources under or in any land
shall vest in the National Government.The Cabinet Secretary may authorize any person in writing, to make surveys, investigations, tests and measurements in
search of geothermal resources and for that purpose the
authorized person upon receiving an application for the extraction of geothermal resources in respect of any land, the Cabinet Secretary and may grant a license for a period not exceeding thirty (30) years, over part or the whole of a
geothermal.A license shall confer upon the licensee the right to enter
upon the land, to extract geothermal resources, to take and
use or apply the geothermal resources and to do all such
things as are reasonably necessary for the conduct of those
operations.The Act provides that any decision by the Cabinet Secretary
to issue a licence shall be made upon advice of the
Renewable Energy Resource Advisory Committee.
|13.||Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariff System||The Repealed Act did not contain these provisions.||The Cabinet Secretary may upon recommendation of the EPRA, make regulations necessary for the administration and implementation of the feed-in-tariff systemThe main objectives of the Renewable Energy Feed in Tariff
Systems are to:(a) catalyze the generation of electricity through renewable energy sources;(b) encourage local distributed generation thereby reducing
demand on the network and technical losses associated with transmission and distribution of electricity over long
distances;(c) encourage the uptake of, and stimulate innovation in
renewable energy technology; and(d) Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by lessening reliance
on non-renewable energy resources.
|14.||Downstream Coal – Requirements of License for Coal
||The Repealed Act did not contain these provisions.||Anyone who wishes to carry out the production of energy
from coal will require a valid license or a permit.One can obtain a license or permit by applying to the EPRA
who within thirty (30) days, may conditionally or
unconditionally grant the license or permit, or refuse to
grant the license or permit.
|15.||Electrical Energy Licensing||The Repealed Act contains provisions on licensing electrical energy generation.||A person who wishes to carry out the generation,
exportation, importation, transmission, distribution and
retail supply of electricity must apply for a license to
the EPRA in so far as the person shall not require any
authorization to generate electrical energy for own use of
a capacity not exceeding one (1) megawatt.When considering the application, the authority shall look
at:(a) the impact of the undertaking on the social, cultural
or recreational life of the community;(b) the need to protect the environment and to conserve the
natural resources in accordance with the Environmental
Management and Coordination Act;(c) land use or the location of the undertaking;(d) economic and financial benefits to the country or area
of supply of the undertaking;(e) the economic and energy policies in place from time to
(f) that the contractual rights, privileges, liabilities
(g) the cost of the undertaking and financing arrangements;
(h) the ability of the applicant to operate in a manner
(i) the technical and financial capacity of the applicant
|16.||Rights of Way, Wayleaves and Use of Land for Energy Resources and Infrastructure||The Repealed Act contains similar provisions to the Act.||A person may develop energy infrastructure, petroleum or
gas pipelines, geothermal or coal infrastructure, on,
through, over or under any public, community or private
land.They must however seek prior consent to survey the land either from the owner of the land or the relevant person or government agency responsible for management of the land.
|17.||Local Content Requirements||The Repealed Act did not provide these provisions.||Every person carrying out any undertaking or works under
this Act shall comply with local content requirements in
all its operations. Persons are required to prepare and
submit an annual and long-term content plan which
corresponds with the work program to the EPRA for approval.The local content plan submitted to the EPRA
shall:(a) ensure that first consideration is given to
services provided within the County and goods
manufactured in the country where the goods meet the
relevant specifications as prescribed by the Kenya Bureau
of Standards or in absence of a Kenyan standard any other
internationally acceptable standards;(b) The plan should also ensure that qualified and skilled
Kenyans are given first consideration with respect to
employment at all levels of the value chain; and(c) adequate provision is made to train Kenyans on the job.The local content plan shall include sub-plans on the
|18.||Compulsory Acquisition||The Repealed Act had a similar provision to the Act.||If the Cabinet Secretary is satisfied that the holder of a
license under this Act reasonably requires land for
purposes of energy infrastructure or for incidental
purposes and has failed to acquire the land after making
reasonable attempts to do so, the Cabinet Secretary may
apply to the government agency responsible for the
management of the subject land to acquire it compulsorily.
We are available to assist you to understand and comply with the provisions of the Energy Act, 2019.
If you have any queries regarding the Energy Act, 2019, please do not hesitate to contact James Wairoto at email@example.com or Bernard Musyoka firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that this e-alert is meant for general information only and should not be relied upon without seeking specific subject matter legal advice.