ISET
ISET Hosting a Workshop with Georgian and Lithuanian Energy Regulators

Regulations in the energy sector are there in order to ensure improvements in efficiency and service quality. They are essential because many actors in the energy sector of any country are state companies and/or natural monopolies for which efficiency and quality of service are somewhat foreign concepts.
An EU-funded twinning project "Strengthening capacities of the regulatory cost audit and market monitoring" brings together the regulatory authorities of Georgia and Lithuania in order for them to learn from each other’s experience (and mistakes). As part of this project, on March 15, 2016, ISET hosted a workshop involving energy regulators from both countries. The Lithuanian National Commission for Energy Control and Prices (NCC) was represented by Vygantas Vaitkus. The Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission (GNERC) was represented by three ISET alumni (class 2011): Giorgi Kelbakiani, Nikoloz Sumbadze and Irakli Galdava, chief specialists with GNERC’s electricity and gas departments.

Georgia has considerable deposits of metal (for instance, manganese, copper and gold) and non-metal resources, however our current regulations do not encourage investment while at the same time failing to generate significant fiscal revenues. Instead of considering the country’s long term needs, these regulations (licensing procedures and royalty fees) have been designed with two objectives in mind:

1) Generate immediate fiscal revenues even before the start of extraction (through exploration and licensing fees);
2) Minimize human intervention in monitoring the sector (by making royalty payments independent of actual extraction volumes and prices). While reducing corruption risks, this approach is too rigid when it comes to risk sharing and incentivizing investment.

On November 12th, President of ISET and ISET-Pi, Eric Livny moderated a panel discussion on “Competing Water Needs” organized by the USAID policy-advocacy project Governing for Growth in Georgia (G4G). Representatives of all water-using sectors were invited to participate. The discussion included the viewpoints of stakeholders in agriculture, environment, and energy sectors. The aim of the panel was to advocate for better and more sustainable water management in Georgia. While having a large amount of both underground and surface resources, water is unevenly distributed around the country. Western Georgia has a majority of the country’s water resource, while eastern Georgia suffers from regular droughts. The country has an old and deteriorated water infrastructure for agricultural and for the drinking supply and it is in need of renovation and better management.

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