Energy Licenses and Licensing Procedures

The terms and conditions of licenses will vary depending on whether it is a license for generation, transmission, distribution or supply. In most instances, a license will contain the following sections: Technical Conditions, Financial Requirements, Rights and Obligations of Licensees, Environmental Standards, Customer Service Standards, Complaint and Dispute Procedures and Fines and Penalties.

This section offers resources and information about energy licenses as they relate to potential public-private partnerships in the power sectors.

Guidance On Licenses For Regulators

USAID has been very active in providing technical assistance to new electricity regulators in Eastern Europe. See below three documents produced by USAID that are primers on the legal and economic functions of licenses.

Applications For Licenses and Licensing Procedures

Applications--General and for Retail and Wholesale Service

Laos PDR

Licensing procedures for power projects in Laos involve a multi-tiered process. In the initial stage, the project proponent would enter into Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the government to carry out feasibility studies. Then they proceed to a Project Development Agreement to carry out further studies, before a concession is finally granted. Application and licensing procedures for investing in power projects are published by the Investment Promotion Department of Laos. See Sample Laws and Regulations for an overview of Laos’ regulatory framework.


Under the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (“EPIRA”), the procedures to operate depend on whether the project is one of generation, distribution or supply.

To establish generation operations, proponents must secure a Certificate of Compliance from the Energy Regulatory Commission (“ERC”), as well as health, safety and environmental clearances from relevant government agencies.

In order to become a Distribution Utility, proponents are required to have a national franchise granted by Congress.

Suppliers must obtain a license from the ERC in accordance with the Revised Rules for the Issuance of Licenses to Retail Electricity Suppliers (“RES”). Under these Rules, a Retail Electricity Suppliers License will only be issued to applicants meeting all applicable requirements, which include requirements relating to credit standing, technical and managerial capabilities. Retail Electricity Suppliers are also required to comply with requirements relating to cross-ownership limitations and anti-competitive behavior.

The country’s transmission assets are state-owned, but operated and managed by a privately-owned corporation, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (“NGCP”).

See Sample Laws and Regulations for an overview of the Philippines’ regulatory framework.


As indicated in Circular No. 36/2018/TT-BCT (“Circular No. 36”), a power generation license will be required for projects generating more than 1MW. The application process will vary depending on the installed capacity of the power project:

  • for all types of power projects with installed capacity from 1MW to less than 3MW in one province or city, the developer must apply for a power generation license at the People’s Committee or authorized Department of Industry and Trade of the relevant province or city where the project is located.

  • for power projects with installed capacity of 3MW or larger, the developer is required to apply for a power generation license at the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (“ERAV”) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (“MOIT”).

Circular No. 36 also requires power developers to complete the following before commercial operation is achieved:

  • execution of a Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) in accordance with Vietnamese laws (except for certain hydro power plants);

  • the supervisory control and data acquisition (“SCADA”) system serving operation of the power systems in accordance with Vietnamese regulations;

  • the information technology infrastructure system, telecommunication infrastructure system serving the operation of the power market; and

  • compliance with other regulations on the management and operation of power plants in accordance with the relevant legal documents.

The Electricity Laws provide that an investor must satisfy the following general conditions to be eligible for an electricity generation license:

  • having feasible projects or schemes for electricity activities;

  • having valid application dossiers for the grant, amendment or supplementation of electricity activity licenses;

  • having administrators or managers with managerial capability and professional qualifications that are suitable in the fields of electricity activities;

  • having paid the license fee; and

  • obtaining certain authorizations and fulfilling ongoing requirements to operate electricity generation plants.

See Sample Laws and Regulations for an overview of the Vietnam’s regulatory framework.


Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (“EWURA”)


Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Comission ("NERC")


Electricity Regulatory Authority (“ERA”)

Sri Lanka

Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka

Sample Licenses


Most generation licenses are issued on a provisional basis prior to actual operation. A difficult issue for many regulators is when to terminate a provisional license if the license holder fails to make sufficient progress in constructing and operating the planned facility. If the developer proposes to sell under a long term PPA, the regulator will often be required to make a separate regulatory determination as to the reasonableness of the terms and conditions of the proposed PPA. This additional regulatory action introduces an element of uncertainty for license holders.

EWURA - Tanzania - This is an example of a license in a power sector where there is no wholesale or retail competition.

England and Wales

Office of Gas and Energy Markets ("OFGEM") (formerly "OFFER")


The Energy Market Regulatory Authority (“EMRA”) / Enerji Piyasası Düzenleme Kurumu (“EPDK”)

Transmission and Bulk Supply


  • Sample Transmission License (2019) – example of a transmission license granted in a power sector where there is both retail and whole competition. The license sets out a number of conditions which regulate how the license holder must provider network access to users.


Distribution (in sectors with no retail competition)


Electricity Authority of Cambodia


Andhra Pradesh (India) - General Terms of Supply of Distribution and Retail Supply Licence

Distribution (in sectors with retail competition)


Download Page as PDF

Updated: October 1, 2021

Partner Resources

Renewable Energy Project Resource Centre (REPRC)

hosted by Energypedia

Wiki-based library of energy project resources. Includes sample terms of references, procurement documents, economic analyses and case studies (success factors and lessons learned).