With the recognition that the mini-grid industry understands the value of consumer protection principles both for their business and to respect consumer rights in often poor and remote villages, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), supported by the Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA), Smart Power India (SPI), launched Consumer Protection Principles for Clean Energy Mini-Grids in October 2019. The project is funded by Swedfund.
More than 10 mini-grid companies have already either committed to the principles or endorsed them. To grow this initiative, ARE invites all mini-grid stakeholders to commit to the principles.
A ‘commitment’ to the Principles signifies that the mini-grid company embodies the Consumer Protection Principles in its treatment of consumers. These Principles are the minimum standards of practice that consumers should expect from service providers. Commitment to the principles also signifies the company’s intent to conduct an assessment as a step towards fully implementing the principles within daily operations.
An ‘endorsement’ of the Principles signifies that the mini-grid company aims to align internal practices with the Consumer Protection Principles, but that they are not yet ready to fully commit to implementing the Principles in daily operations. Investors and governments may also endorse the Principles. For example, investors that endorse the Principles may request mini-grid companies to fulfil the minimum standards of practice in their treatment of consumers when financing them.