Kenyan Parliament annuls punitive fine on solar water heating systems

The Parliament of Kenya has annulled the punitive fine on property owners who  failed to comply with the recently imposed solar water heating regulations.

The regulations which came to effect in May, after an extended grace period, were compelling owners of all premises within the jurisdiction of local authorities with hot water requirements of a capacity exceeding 100 litres per day, to install and use solar water heating systems, failure to which would attract a one-year jail term or a US $9,970 fine.

The penalty, which was introduced by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), was set to increase costs for landlords and tenants which according to the Parliament would in turn undermine access to affordable housing.

Also Read: Kenya starts implementing Solar Water Heating rules

According to reports, the national assembly’s committee on delegated legislation, threw out the ERC rules on account of there being a contravention to the section of the Statutory Instruments Act (SI Act). The said act limits fines payable under the Act to a maximum of US $199 or a prison term not exceeding six months in default.

Parliament also noted that the rules infringe on the law that prevents imposition of a fine, or other penalty without express authority provided for in the enabling legislation.

The national assembly’s committee on energy said the enabling legislation, the Energy Act 2006, does not grant authority to levy fines through the regulations.

Solar water heating systems
The regulations were first published in 2012 by the ERC. Buildings with hot water demand exceeding 100 litres per day were thus required to install solar water heating systems to cater for at least 60% of the demand. According to the regulations, owners of new buildings were to comply at the time of publishing of the notice. On the other hand, existing buildings had a grace period of five years to do so.