Empowering people: A governance analysis of electricity in India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand

Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — May 7, 2007 –Greater public involvement and scrutiny are required to build better governance of electricity, a review of experiences in India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand has found.

The review, entitled ‘Empowering people: A governance analysis of electricity’, finds that in general, very little information about the basis for new policy initiatives is shared with the public in these countries, and that opportunities for public participation in policy processes remain quite limited. Moreover public interests such as environmental sustainability and social equity are seldom included in the mandates of electricity regulators, who consequently lack the budgetary and human resources to address these aspects of the sustainable energy challenge.

Nevertheless in each of the four countries civil society organizations have demonstrated significant interest in engaging in electricity governance.

The review says that if improving governance can improve access to reliable electricity, particularly for the poorest, help address some of the inherent tensions of sustainable development, and aid a transition to cleaner energy, then it is well worth doing. Accordingly it is recommended that there should be improved transparency and debate about electricity policy, with the establishment of robust planning processes and the mainstreaming of environmental and social considerations. Furthermore there should be transparency of regulation and investment in improving the effectiveness of public engagement in electricity governance.

“Governments and the international community have an important role, and indeed a responsibility, to reach out to civil society and empower them to be effective participants in electricity governance,” says the review.