ISLAMABAD -  Third South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Energy Regulators meeting has concluded here with an agreement on Plan of Action on Energy Regulation and agreed to further deliberate on regulatory issues relating to cross-border electricity trade/exchange with a view to harmonise the elements.

The meeting also noted that Bhutan, Nepal and India have ratified the SAARC Framework Agreement and urged the other members to ratify it as a priority before 19th SAARC Summit.

The two-day meeting, which concluded here Thursday, discussed SAARC Energy Framework Agreement which emphasised mutual cooperation on development of efficient conversational, renewable energy resources, energy efficiency, energy conservation, sharing of knowledge and promoting competition among the member states. Chairman NEPRA Tariq Saddozai presided over the two-day meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Energy Regulators .

Third SAARC Energy Regulators meeting concluded here with an agreement on Plan of Action on Energy Regulation. A declaration issued by NEPRA spokesperson said that the member states agreed that harmonization of regulations, codes and standards for electricity grids are of vital importance for cross-border electricity trade in the region. The national regulatory authorities may provide suggestions and proposals for possible harmonization of Regulations, Codes and Standards through SAARC Secretariat and discuss the suggestions/ proposals in subsequent meetings. It was also agreed to deliberate on regulatory issues relating to cross-border electricity trade/exchange with a view to harmonize the elements. Sharing of studies in this regard by international partners is vital for resolving issues.

It was also decided that national energy regulatory authorities of the SAARC member states (electricity) may meet twice a year under the nomenclature ‘SAARC Council of Experts of Energy Regulators (Electricity) to effectively follow up, monitor and implement the SAARC Energy Framework Cooperation Agreement (Electricity). Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission offered secretarial services for the proposed Council. All member states have to appoint two experts for the council by October 20, 2016.

Regional Energy Forum (Electricity) may be formed under the SAARC umbrella in order to implement the SAARC Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation (Electricity). Plan of Action is an evolving document and as such may be reviewed from time to time, as and when necessary. The SAARC Secretariat in consultation with member states would finalize the venue and date for next SAARC energy regulators meeting.

The member states agreed on Pakistan’s proposal that the following activities be included in the SAARC Plan of Action on Energy Regulations (Electricity).

i) Existing market structure and evolving structure to move to competitive market.

ii) Benchmarking the performance of transmission and distribution entities.

iii) Benchmarking efficiency and availability targets of generation facilities under a regulated environment.

The meeting appreciated the comprehensive country papers presented by the member states.