Turkey: What Does EMRA Do? – OpEd


The Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) has been operating as the regulatory and supervisory body of Turkey’s energy sector since 2001. It is responsible for regulating and overseeing energy markets such as electricity, natural gas, LPG, petroleum, and renewable energy. The main objective of EMRA is to ensure that energy resources reach consumers in a high-quality, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly manner.

EMRA is funded through license fees collected from energy production and distribution companies. For example, in 2018, EMRA received significant license fees from prominent natural gas distribution companies like BOTAŞ. These fees are generally included in energy prices and passed on to consumers. The institution also has a broad legal team to develop regulatory guidelines for energy markets.

However, EMRA’s structure and functioning have occasionally faced criticism. Some have pointed out that similar organizations like Ofgem in the UK operate more efficiently with a smaller and less complex setup. Additionally, concerns have been raised regarding the predominance of legal experts on the EMRA’s board and the limited number of engineers, leading to potential shortcomings in handling technical matters and oversight.

EMRA’s levies substantial license fees from producer companies to perform its licensing and monitoring duties. To fulfill these responsibilities, it maintains an extensive and experienced legal team. License fees are passed on to consumers through electricity prices. EMRA utilizes the funds obtained from license fees to regulate and supervise energy markets. Its budget and expenses are subject to approval and audit by the Ministry of Finance. Moreover, the Court of Accounts (Sayıştay) and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) have the authority to audit the institution’s expenses.

After covering personnel salaries and office expenses, EMRA transfers the remaining funds to the treasury. This ensures that its revenues and expenditures are under control, and budget discipline is maintained. Pursuing unnecessary expenditures to avoid transferring funds to the treasury is not feasible due to legal regulations, and the institution is expected to adhere to ethical principles.

Observations and criticisms indicate that EMRA requires structural transformation. Implementing necessary reforms to make the institution more effective, efficient, and technologically competent can aid EPDK in becoming a more efficient regulatory body.

Haluk Direskeneli

Haluk Direskeneli, is a graduate of METU Mechanical Engineering department (1973). He worked in public, private enterprises, USA Turkish JV companies (B&W, CSWI, AEP, Entergy), in fabrication, basic and detail design, marketing, sales and project management of thermal power plants. He is currently working as freelance consultant/ energy analyst with thermal power plants basic/ detail design software expertise for private engineering companies, investors, universities and research institutions. He is a member of Chamber of Turkish Mechanical Engineers Energy Working Group.

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