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BENJAMIN'S50TH BIRTHDAY

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Commercial and residential building owners have won a reprieve after the energy regulator extended the period for complying with solar water heating panels.

The Electricity Regulator Commission (ERC) said it would give the property owners six more months to enable them arrange for financing and fitting their buildings with solar systems beyond today’s deadline.

BENJAMIN'S50TH BIRTHDAY

“We’ll publish a notice to inform them of a six – month grace period after May 25, ERC acting director- general Pavel Oimeke, told the Business Daily.  Kenya came up with the energy (Solar Water Heating) regulations 2012 five years ago to encourage use of renewable sources and ease pressure on the national grid.

Under the regulations, all new premises with hot water requirements of more than 100 litres per day must be fitted with solar heating systems.

The premises which were in existence by the time the law when the water heating regulations were made was passed had a timeline of up to today – May 25 – to install the solar heaters.

The rules prohibit the Kenya Power from approving electricity connection to premises that lack solar installations.  The guidelines target domestic residential premises, educational institutions, health institutions  and hotels.  Others are restaurants, catering facilities and laundries.

The move by the ERC to extend compliance date spares the building owners and imminent confrontation with law enforcers.  The ERC has also avoided a damaging confrontation with power applicants at a time that the ruling Jubilee Coalition is determined to showcase mass access to electricity among its first term accomplishment.

The cost of a complete solar water heater system for commercial buildings is between Kes600,000 and Kes2million.