Decisions about how to generate, deliver and pay for electricity have a profound effect on people’s lives. It is important that these decision-making processes take into account economic, social, and environmental concerns. By strengthening electricity governance, countries can develop more equitable and sustainable electricity policies. Transparent, inclusive and accountable electricity governance can ensure that decisions taken work in the public interest.
What is the Electricity Governance Initiative?
The Electricity Governance Initiative (EGI) is a global network of civil society organizations dedicated to promoting transparent, inclusive and accountable decision-making. EGI facilitates collaboration of civil society, policymakers, regulators, and other electricity sector actors to ensure that sector decisions reflect public interest.
EGI works with our civil society partners in the EGI network to engage with country-level institutions that make decisions about investment priorities, resource mix and pricing of electricity. Our partners’ assess policy making and regulatory bodies against indicators of transparency, capacity, public participation, and accountability, and use their findings to advocate for improved sector decision-making processes. EGI shines a light on these institutions to address problems of information asymmetry, to stimulate innovation, and to improve performance and planning.
In-Country Assessments. EGI empowers civil society organizations to assess and promote improved electricity sector governance in their countries. The first step is an accurate assessment of a country’s current practices and institutions using the EGI toolkit, an indicator-based methodology that helps our in-country partners map decision-making processes in the sector. In each country, partners then produce a branded assessment report which they can use as a foundation to promote improved governance.
National Engagement. EGI assessment reports create a shared language and platform that bring stakeholders together to make meaningful improvements in policy, planning and regulatory decision making processes. EGI convenes civil society, government, utilities, the private sector, and local people to discuss new solutions to pressing problems in the electricity sector.
A Global Network of Partners. EGI links national civil society groups to a global network of partners confronting similar challenges in different parts of the world. By convening these organizations, and supporting ongoing communication through electronic forums, our partners share experiences and advance collective strategies for improving governance. EGI is a learning network that responds to the evolving challenges that various stakeholders confront in the sector.
Global Engagement on Electricity Policy. Drawing on the work of in-country partners, we provide analysis and input to multilateral and regional development banks – including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank – as they develop energy strategies, technical assistance approaches, and investment decisions. Insights from EGI’s work have informed investment plans approved by the Clean Technology Fund. Since 2008, we have convened forums to bring together electricity regulators from developed and developing countries to share and reflect critically upon their experiences with promoting clean energy. Through such initiatives, EGI has become a unique new source of insights into the practical realities of quickly evolving markets for clean energy in developing countries around the world.
EGI Projects Under Development
EGI is currently developing three new projects to build stakeholder capacity to participate in decision-making processes in the electricity sector. The projects are being developed in collaboration with various WRI programs and with EGI partners worldwide. For more information about EGI projects under development or how you can support this work, please contact Davida Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Electricity Distribution Interface Toolkit (EDIT)
Quality of service is an important aspect of energy access. Power outages and voltage spikes negatively impact quality of life and business productivity and result in wealthier households and businesses turning to diesel-generated power supply for back-up while the poor endure inadequate power.
The Electricity Distribution Interface Toolkit (EDIT) will provide a platform that enables users to understand and engage on electricity service delivery issues. EDIT aims to:
Provide consumer groups with tools to engage with utilities, government, and other related electricity agencies, with the goal of contributing to improved electricity sector outcomes, such as reliable access to electricity;
Document electricity access problems from a consumer perspective, building a constituency with an improved understanding of electricity challenges and an increased capacity to advocate for better policies and regulatory decisions;
Facilitate coalition-building and local-level consumer advocacy for improved decision-making in the electricity sector; and
Develop and sustain local-level leadership and capacity beyond the EDIT assessment in order to improve electricity service and delivery in partner countries.
EDIT will be implemented in three stages. The first stage will conduct consumer surveys to identify problem areas in service delivery. The second will develop diagnostic modules to further understand problem areas, while the third will support consumer advocates to foster policy dialogue aimed at solving these issues. Stage one is currently being piloted by EGI partners in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Please visit our page over the next coming months for updates on the EDIT project.
2. 10 Questions to Ask (10Qs) Series
Countries across the globe are creating new laws on renewable energy, establishing power development plans, and revising electricity tariff-setting procedures. While some countries have created procedures for information disclosure and public consultation, civil society needs support on how to participate in policy, planning, and regulatory spaces.
EGI’s 10Qs series will serve as a guide to help civil society participate in discussions relevant to these electricity sector issues. In 2012, we will create three guides containing a list of relevant questions civil society members should ask when engaging with electricity sector decision makers. Topics include: tariff-making processes, integrated resource planning, and renewable energy. Two additional topics will be selected in 2013.
Those using the guides will gain the information and tools needed to ask key questions of policy makers and regulators and press for more transparent, justifiable decision-making processes in the electricity sector. A roster of sector experts will be developed in order to provide additional support for EGI partners using the tool. By the end of the project, partners will be able to independently engage and train others to engage on specific sector topics where transparency is key to improved outcomes. The tools could also be used to empower institutions charged with oversight of the sector – like regulators or legislators – to take up their roles.
3. Low-Carbon Policy Tracking Framework and Policy Implementation Framework
Governments across the world have been implementing climate strategies and low-carbon policies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy security, and achieve other economic, social, and health benefits. Yet, in many cases, decisions are not made transparently and governments are not held accountable for implementing those strategies effectively, resulting in the inability to achieve policy objectives.In many countries, an “implementation deficit” results when public institutions are unable to effect necessary change.
EGI has been working with the Open Climate Network (OCN) to design two frameworks that promote improved transparency and accountability. OCN is a WRI project that brings together independent research institutes and civil society groups from partner countries to track, monitor, and report national progress on implementing climate change policies and low-carbon strategies.
The two frameworks under development include:
The Low-Carbon Policy Tracking Framework provides a simple framework for tracking national progress toward low-carbon policy implementation from the time that policy is adopted to the time when the relevant implementing institutions have taken all the necessary steps to bring the policy into effect.
The Policy Implementation Diagnostic Framework aims to facilitate a detailed analysis of institutional challenges to policy implementation processes, ultimately leading to strengthened processes and enhanced policy effectiveness.
Both frameworks will allow partners to track policy implementation, detect impasses, and analyze institutional barriers. OCN’s goal is to increase transparency and access to information and facilitate enhanced engagement of key players, including civil society, government, and the private sector.
EGI partners have piloted these OCN tools and will be using them to assess implementation of climate-related electricity policies and build broader civil society capacity. EGI is currently working with in-country partners from South Africa and India and is seeking funding to work with partners in Brazil, Thailand, and Indonesia.