Exploring 10 Years of ERRA: My account of the organization’s success

Every piece of writing has its own story. The Energy Regulators Regional Association is celebrating  their 10 year anniversary in 2011. I was asked to write a publication chronicling their history and describing their success. This was an honor. The final product is a small book containing a compilation of interviews, historical research and contributions by leading regulatory thinkers.

10 Year birthdays are great!

The story behind this publication centers around working with a network of dedicated people that believe in the role and importance of independent and professional regulatory institutions.  That easily summarizes ERRA’s mission. Every person we approached for an interview was extremely kind in giving us some thoughtful and original ideas on the history and role of ERRA. As you read the publication, you can understand the difference that ERRA does make, and the support structure that it provides to national energy regulators. This widespread dedication enabled the 10 Year Anniversary publication to be that much more exciting to write. The passion that everyone expressed about ERRA’s purpose and mission, inspired me to match that passion.

This report is also special, because as so often happens when I finish writing an article or report, which can takes months or years to complete, I’m never really sure who – or whether anyone – reads it. Thus, I was pleased to hear that people were engaged with the publication at ERRA’s 10 Year Anniversary celebration. Their annual ERRA Energy Investment and Regulation conference in St. Petersburg, Russia served as the celebratory platform. It was also the location of the launch of this publication. A review of the schedule of speakers demonstrates the importance of ERRA. Just a few of these were:

  • Mr. Tony Clark, President, NARUC, USA
  • Mr. Sergey Novikov, Chairman, Federal Tariff Service of the Russian Federation
  • Mr. Robert Archer, Senior Energy Advisor, USAID, USA
  • Mr. Walter Boltz, Vice President, CEER (Council of European Energy Regulators)
  • Mr. Baohua Liu, Director-General, Power Market Regulation Department, State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) of China
  • Lord John Mogg, CEER President and ACER Board of Regulators Chairman
  • Mr. Hans ten Berge, Secretary General, Eurelectric
  • Mr. Vladimir Knyaginin, Director, North-West Strategic Research Centre, Russian Federation
The geographic reach of ERRA

I conducted 35 interviews for the book. And there are two forewords, one by Tony Clark, the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), and another by Alberto Pototschnig of the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER). Some of the people interviewed include the speakers from the St. Petersburg conference, but also notable European energy experts, such as,

  • Jean-Michel Glachant -Director, Florence School of Regulation
  • Turkey representative, President Hasan Köktas: Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA)
  • Konstantin Petrov, Director Markets Regulation of KEMA
  • Director, Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE)
  • Ron Eachus -Chair of the Oregon Public Utility Commission/Former Chairman of the NARUC Committee on International Relations
  • Gabor Szorenyi, Director, Hungarian Energy Office
  • Peter Kaderjak, Director of the Regional Center for Energy Policy Research (REKK), at Corvinus University of Budapest

Inside the book, there is a wealth of information about the history and purpose of ERRA along with a description of all its activities. The rapid expansion of the organization in just 10 years, also indicates the growth in the need for regulatory knowledge in developing economies. This is where ERRA’s niche lies. It is successful in transferring the knowledge necessary to encourage professional regulatory decision making to occur.

There is an English version and a Russian version. I also have to thank everyone at ERRA and those connected with it, for working with me closely in revising and improving the drafts. The publication is based on their vision and their ideas for what makes ERRA so unique – and why it has grown so rapidly.

I’ll end this post with a word from ACER Director, Alberto Pototschnig:

The evolution of energy regulation compels regulators to work together even more. The Second Legislative Package, in 2003, required all EU Member States to establish a National Regulatory Authority for the energy sector; the Third Package is now granting these authorities greater powers and stronger independence. These are necessary factors for good regulation, but the enhancing of practices and the sharing of the best ones require much more: on the one hand, training and the dissemination of the regulatory culture and techniques; on the other hand, close cooperation among regulators at the regional level and beyond. This is where ERRA has made a key contribution over its 10 years of operation: it has an established track record of fostering cooperation between regulators and facilitating the process of market liberalisation and integration.