General FAQs

When was RURA created?

Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) was first created by law n° 39/2001 of 13th September 2001 as an agency and which was published in the Official Gazette n° 20 of 15th October 2001. The above law was repealed by the Law No 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 establishing RURA as an Authority with the mission to regulate:
Telecommunications, Information technology, Broadcasting and Converging Electronic Technologies including the Internet and any other Audiovisual Information and Communication Technology; 
Postal Services; 
Renewable and non-renewable energy, industrial gases, pipelines and storage facilities; 
Water; Sanitation; 
Transport of persons and goods; and 
Other public utilities, if deemed necessary.

What are the role, Mission, Power and Vision of RURA?

i. The role of RURA
The role of RURA is to promote Fair Competition, Quality of Service and Development.
ii. Mission 
The Law Nº 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 gives the Authority the following mission: 
• to set up necessary guidelines in order to implement laws and regulations in force; 
• to ensure compliance by public utilities with the provisions of laws and regulations governing the regulated sectors in an objective, transparent and non-discriminatory manner; 
• to ensure the continuity of service delivery by the licensed or authorized service providers and the preservation of public interest; 
• to protect users’ and operators’ interests by taking measures likely to guarantee effective, sound and fair competition in the regulated sectors within the framework of applicable laws and regulations; 
• to protect and promote consumers’ interests; 
• to promote the availability, accessibility and affordability of regulated services to all consumers including low income, rural and disadvantaged consumers; 
• to promote efficient development of regulated sectors in accordance with Government economic and financial policy; 
• to promote and enhance general knowledge, sensitization and awareness of the regulated sectors
 • to issue permits, authorizations and licenses required for regulated sectors, in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations;
 • to monitor and ensure compliance by regulated network or service providers in line with their licenses, permits and concession obligations;
 • to ensure fair competition in all regulated sectors.
iii. Powers
For public interest and consumer protection in particular, and in order to effectively fulfill its mandate, RURA has been vested by the Law with the following powers: 
1. to carry out investigations including inspections at service delivery sites of the regulated service providers in the purpose of ensuring compliance with their obligations; 2. to impose administrative sanctions in case of a violation of this Law and other Laws and regulations governing regulated sectors; 
3. to settle and facilitate the settlement of disputes related to regulated services; 
4. to issue directives to the regulated service provider whose license to operate has been cancelled, suspended, modified or revoked, and appoint an administrator;
 5. to regulate tariffs and charges; 
6. to obtain information; 
7. Judicial police power and RURA’s representation before courts.                                                               As per the Law, RURA may have access to any commercial premises of any natural person or legal entity,at any time, in accordance with the law, either with or without notice, to inspect and obtain any necessary information when there are reasonable grounds to believe that there is a violation of provisions of the law governing the concerned regulated utility or the Law creating the Authority.
iv. Vision
RURA Vision is to be a point of reference in public utilities regulation that inspires development and confidence.

Which sectors are regulated by RURA?

 ICT
RURA’s mandate, among other things, within the ICT sector is to license, monitor and enforce license obligations, manage scarce resources, advise policy makers on ICT, postal and media related issues and represent Rwanda in international organizations on issues pertaining to ICT.
ENERGY
The regulated energy sector in Rwanda consists of four components namely electricity, renewable energy, gas and petroleum. Rwanda’s power supply is currently made up of domestic power generating facilities and importation from neighboring countries. RURA, in its mandate to regulate the Energy sector, is required to support the ongoing socio-economic transformation and poverty eradication through ensuring sufficient, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supply.
WATER AND SANITATION 
RURA mandate in water sub-sector is to regulate the provision of water services in a way that promotes fair competition, sustainable and efficient use of water resources and to ensure that water service providers offer a good quality of service in regards to drinking water.
Sanitation regulation consists of establishing regulatory tools necessary for the sound regulation of sanitation services in Rwanda, licensing sanitation service provision, monitor compliance by licensees with license terms and conditions through audits and inspections conducted to sanitation service providers and analyze reports from sanitation service providers.
TRANSPORT
In the regulation of transport sector, due attention is given to the transportation of goods and persons in the two modes namely road and inland waterways. RURA has developed a good number of tertiary legislations in terms of guidelines such as those for public transport operation, driving school operation, transport of goods operation, travel agencies and freight forwarding operations.

Who appoints the Regulatory Board and Director General?

In conformity with provisions of the Law establishing RURA, the Regulatory Board consist of seven (7) members including the Director General who serves as a rapporteur. 
Members of the Regulatory Board are appointed by a Presidential Order for a term of four (4) years renewable only once, except the Director General of RURA who is also appointed by a Presidential Order for a term of office of five (5) years renewable once.
The Director General of the Regulatory Authority holds office on a full time basis. 

What does Regulation mean?

Regulation means "controlling human or societal behavior by rules or restrictions." Regulation can take many forms: legal restrictions promulgated by a government authority, self-regulation by an industry such as through a trade association, social regulation (e.g.norms), co-regulation and market regulation.
In the specific case of RURA, it is about market regulation which means Government intervention in the market place in a market economy.

What does Public utility mean?

As provided for in the Law establishing RURA, the term “Public Utility” means all natural persons, enterprises or organizations (for example: companies) which provide the following services:
a) Telecommunications networks and/or telecommunications services;
b) Electricity;
c) Water;
d) The removal of waste products from residential or business premises;
e) The extraction and distribution of gas;
f) Persons and goods transport.

What is the impact of Regulation on the Development?

i.  Availability of services

ii. Affordability

iii. Accessibility

iv. Sustainability

v. Quality of Service

                     

Where to pay the Regulatory fees?

The regulatory fees are paid on the regulator’s account, as it is stipulated in article N° 35 of the law establishing RURA. 

How does RURA enforce any failure on Regulated sectors?

The essence of market regulation is to find responses to all forms of Market failures. So, RURA does not enforce failure, but finds solution to failures using regulator tools.

How to measure the quality of service?

The quality of service is measured both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Some of the measures used are:
The level of consumer satisfaction
Variation of the number of complaints received through the toll free, RURA incoming mail and official complaints.
Report from the operator on the quality of service
Media report

What is the appropriate role of regulators in the implementation of a new market structure and in evaluating/mitigating the impact of such changes?

The role of the regulator is to find responses to all forms of market failures, among which market structure failure is addressed through appropriate measures to increase competition coupled with price and quality of service regulation. 

What are the different ways to promote competition in utility sector and what can be the regulator's role in doing so?

Ways of promoting competition at the policy level:

·         Liberalize the market

·         Eliminate barriers to entry in the market

·         Prohibit anticompetitive behavior

·         Provide different kinds of incentives where required

·         Take necessary measures for market transparency

What is the regulator role in promoting competition?

To implement the policy through:
Licensing new entrants in the regulated sectors market
Providing and enforcing guidelines and regulation to implement the national policy
Restraining the power of dominant suppliers 
Enforce the rule of infrastructure sharing and networks interconnection among licensed operators for network utilities. 
Designing incentives required to attract private investors

What can be the role of the regulator in designing rules that limit anti-competitive behavior by the incumbent operator?

The regulator plays the leading role in designing and enforcing rules governing the regulated sectors.

What is the best factor to use to determine market share and assess dominance?

The article 41 of the Law establishing the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority stipulates that “The Regulatory Board may designate any public utility organization as a dominant organization. Dominant organizations are subject to the controls set out in the law relating to that sector of public utility. Such designations made under the provisions of this article take into account the natural person or organization’s ability to influence market conditions, its turnover relative to the size of its market, its control of user access to the relevant utility, its access to financial resources and its experience in providing the relevant utility”.

What powers does the regulator have over utilities?

Investigating and terminating anti-competitive conduct;
Enforcing Laws and regulations in regulated sectors;
Impose sanctions in case of violation of Laws and regulations in regulated sectors.

Which legal instruments does RURA use to regulate?

Sector

Instruments

ICT

  1.  Law N° 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 establishing Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and determining its mission, powers, organization and functioning.
  2. Law N° 24/2016 of 18/06/2016 governing information and communication technologies
  3. Regulations and guidelines derived from the above laws.

Media

  1. Law N° 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 establishing Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and determining its mission, powers, organization and functioning;
  2. Law N° 02/2013 of 08/02/2013 regulating media;
  3. Regulations and guidelines derived from the above laws.

TRANSPORT

  1. Law N° 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 establishing Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and determining its mission, powers, organization and functioning;
  2. Regulations and guidelines derived from the above laws.

ENERGY

  1. Law N° 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 establishing Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and determining its mission, powers, organization and functioning

Law No 21/2011 of 23/06/2011 governing electricity in Rwanda

  1.  Law No 85/2013 of 11/09/2013 regulating petroleum and petroleum products trade in Rwanda
  1. Regulations and guidelines derived from the above laws.

WATER AND SANITATION

  1. Law N° 09/2013 of 01/03/2013 establishing Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) and determining its mission, powers, organization and functioning
  2. Organic Law N° 04/2005 determining the modalities of protection, safeguard and promote the environment in Rwanda,
  3. Law N° 16/2006 determining the organisation, functioning and responsibilities of Rwanda Environment Management Authority.
  4. The Law N° 62/2008 of 10/09/2008 putting in place the use, conservation, protection and management of water resources regulations
  5. Regulations and guidelines derived from the above laws.

How is RURA connected to the different Ministries in charge of Regulated Sectors?

The line Minister of Regulated Sector provides Policy and appropriate Legal and Regulatory Framework. 
RURA put in place the implementation and enforcement measures. However, according to the law establishing RURA, the Regulatory Board also has the right to make proposals to a Minister for a new legislation for any public utility sector and the Minister shall consider such proposals.
The Minister consults with the Regulatory Board concerning the formulation of policy for the public utility sector for which he or she has responsibility. The Regulatory Board gives due regard, to and has a right of opinion on such a policy.  
Except for the matter of National Security, the Ministers are always requested to respect the independence of RURA.

How and when to make a complaint?

A consumer can complain when she/he is dissatisfied with a product or a service. It is his/her right and duty to express this dissatisfaction to the operator or service provider so that the latter can rectify or resolve it satisfactorily.  She/he makes a complaint through:
1. A written letter to the DG of RURA
2. Making a call through the provided hotline (3988)
3. Personally contacting RURA
4. Filling an online consumer complaint form
5. Sending an email to info@rura.rw

Who should I contact if I have a complaint?

In the first instance, a consumer is encouraged to complain directly to the utility company and can turn to RURA when he/she feels the complaint has not been satisfactorily dealt with.