Reprieve for landlords as tough energy rules delayed by 6 months

Solar water heaters
Kenya is seeking to cut its reliance on power from the national grid. PHOTO/FILE
Landlords who are yet to install solar water heaters on their buildings won a reprieve on Thursday after the energy regulator extended the grace period to comply with the law that came to force in May 2012.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said it was allowing property owners six months more to enable them arrange for financing and fitting of their buildings with solar water heating systems beyond the May 25 deadline.

The energy (solar water heating) regulations of 2012 compel landlords to install water heaters on commercial and residential buildings whose occupants use more than 100 litres of hot water a day.

The rules require new buildings to be fitted before use.

ERC had earlier said that it had noted that property developers were putting up new buildings without incorporating solar water heaters and it would conduct nationwide property audit to establish premises that are not compliant.

“Beginning May, all commercial buildings will be required to install solar water heaters as part of plans to green the Kenyan economy,” ERC acting director general Robert Pavez Oimeke told an energy forum in Nairobi in March.

According to a legal notice that was published by the ERC in 2012, failure to comply with the new regulations will attract a fine of Sh1 million or a jail term of one year.

“A person who breaches this law commits an offense and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh1 million, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both,” the notice said.

In addition to the fitting of water heating systems, landlords will be required to conduct energy audits every three years and they must implement at least half of the audit recommendations within three years.

The guidelines target hotels, hospitals, educational institutions, restaurants and laundries.

Property owners have in the past cited high costs of the kits as the main hindrance to increased uptake of solar energy. Solar water heaters cost Sh125,000 to Sh150,000 for a residential unit and Sh600,000 to Sh2 million for a commercial building.