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ERC targets houses with no solar water heaters in new inspection

By Fredrick Obura | Published Fri, May 11th 2018 at 11:19, Updated May 11th 2018 at 11:37 GMT +3
A house that has solar system; Kenyan property owners risk jail or fine under new solar water heating regulation

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Energy Regulatory Commission has begun inspection of buildings across the country for the compliance with solar water heating regulations 2012.

The regulations, which came into force in 2012, had given a five-year window to owners of buildings that consume more than 100 litres of hot water a day to install solar water heating systems.

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The window lapsed on May 25, meaning ERC could recommend prosecution of non-compliant landlords, who risk a year in prison or a Sh1 million fine.

According to the new rules, domestic residential houses with three bedrooms and educational institutions such as colleges and boarding schools with 20 students meet the hot water demand.

Other premises targeted include hotels, hostels, lodges and similar premises providing boarding services

“Following the lapse of the deadline, the Commission is currently carrying out surveillance visits on buildings under construction and random spot checks on existing premises to ensure compliance with regulations,” said Director General, Energy Regulatory Commission Robert Oimeke.

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The commission however warned property owners to be careful of fraudsters masquerading as ERC officers inspecting buildings in relations to the new rules.

The cost of installing solar equipment has been cited as a barrier and the reason why many developers have in the past failed to incorporate the new requirement during construction phases of a building.

But Mr Oimeke speaking in Nairobi early this year said the cost of equipment had declined and that establishments that are heavily reliant on hot water for their operations stood to make huge savings on their electricity bills.

“Cost is not a barrier. A few years back, it was between one and two per cent of the cost of construction but today, it has substantially gone down,” he said.

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