Reprieve for landlords as tough energy rules delayed by 6 months

Solar water heating systems
The guidelines require new buildings to be fitted before use. PHOTO/FILE
Property owners who are yet to mount solar water heaters on their buildings have up to November 25 to do so after the energy regulator extended the grace period to comply with a law that was passed in 2012.

The Energy Regulatory Commission said on Thursday that it was permitting landlords six months more to enable them arrange for financing and installation of 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 guidelines require new buildings to be fitted before use.

The energy regulator had earlier said that it had noted that landlords were putting up buildings without fitting solar water heaters and it would conduct countrywide audit to establish buildings 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.

Failure to comply with the new regulations will attract a fine of Sh1 million or a jail term of one year, ERC said in a legal notice dated April 4, 2012.

“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.

According to ERC, new buildings, alterations or extensions must be designed to incorporate solar water heating systems.

In addition to the installation of solar panels, property owners will be required to conduct energy audits every three years and they must implement at least half of the audit recommendations within three years.

Boarding schools, universities, hospitals and children homes will also be required to incorporate solar systems within their premises.

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