Fostering a Supportive Regulatory Environment for Mini-Grid Development

Effective regulation is essential for successful mini-grid development. Mini-grid regulations differ from those of traditional power utilities due to their smaller size, distinct engineering requirements (such as compatibility, interconnection, safety, performance standards) and varying ownership and business models.

Depending on the country, regulatory oversight can include several actors, including but not limited to departments within a government ministry, national regulatory entities and non-traditional actors such as rural electrification agencies (REAs), community groups, local courts and tribunals. Defining the roles and decision-making responsibilities of each regulatory actor enables more transparent and accountable mini-grid development. This module covers the key requirements for an effective regulatory environment, roles of various actors often involved in regulation, establishing tariffs and the importance of transparency and accountability.

What are the elements of a regulatory framework for mini‑grids?

The process should ensure public participation and may focus on technology standards, affordable and reliable service, environmental impacts, grid interconnection and contractual agreements. Read more »

Who is responsible for regulating mini-grids?

Regulation may be established and carried out by the central government, independent national regulatory bodies, REAs and community organizations. Read more »

What types of tariffs are appropriate for mini-grids and how are tariffs set?

Regulators or operators may use variations of methodologies, including uniform, cost-reflective, avoided-cost and hybrid tariff structures. Read more »

How can mini-grid projects incorporate accountability and transparency?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but transparency requires public participation, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation and clear definition of roles for stakeholders and regulators. Read more »

Last updated: February 13, 2018

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