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Laws and Regulations



The Abu Dhabi Energy Sector is governed by the following Laws:

  • Law No. 11 of 2018 concerning the establishment of the Department of Energy;
  • Law No. 17 of 2005 concerning the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (as amended by Law No. 18 of 2007, Law No. 12 of 2008, and Law No. 12 of 2009, among others);
  • Law No. 2 of 1998 concerning the regulation of the water and electricity sector (as amended by Law No. 19 of 2007 and Law No. 9 of 2009, among others)

The Energy Sector is defined in Law No. 11 as including all activities, businesses, and services relating to the following:

  • The production, processing, storage, transmission, distribution, supply, sale, and purchase of gas, petroleum, and their by-products.
  • The generation, storage, transmission, distribution, supply, sale, and purchase of electricity of all types (from clean, renewable, and conventional sources).
  • The production, treatment, desalination, storage, transmission, distribution, supply, sale, and purchase of water.
  • The collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater and wastes, as well as the recycling of the by-products of wastewater treatment.
  • The production, storage, distribution, and supply of cooling liquids for central cooling usages.

Department of Energy

Law No. 11 sets out the responsibilities of the Department of Energy, and these responsibilities include the following:

  • Proposing strategic and executive plans for the Energy Sector and supervising their execution.
  • Proposing strategic and executive plans for the Energy Sector and supervising their execution.
  • Monitoring and supervising all affiliate entities, with respect to disbursement from their budgets, revenues, compliance with their duties and responsibilities, and approving their strategic and executive plans.
  • Regulating all aspects of the Energy Sector through developing policies, codes, standards, rules, resolutions and executive and operating circulars.
  • Monitoring and supervising the Energy Sector as per the related legislations, agreements, and treaties applicable locally and internationally in the Sector, and in coordination with the concerned entities inside and outside the UAE.
  • Licencing all authorities, entities, companies, and personnel working in the Energy Sector and monitoring their compliance with providing services of optimal quality as per the applicable legislation and in coordination with the concerned entities.
  • Proposing fees, tariffs, and prices related to its authorities and submitting the same to the Executive Council for approval, as per the applicable systems.
  • Submitting periodic reports and analytical studies to the Executive Council with respect to the Department’s authorities.
  • Encouraging investment and partnership with the Private Sector for projects relating to the Department’s authorities in coordination with the concerned entities.
  • Representing the Energy Sector within and outside the UAE.
  • Promoting energy and water efficiency initiatives and programs.
  • Developing, regulating, and supervising technical, safety, and customer care standards.
  • Monitoring the compliance of the Energy Sector (in coordination with relevant entities within Abu Dhabi and outside the Emirate).
  • Coordinating with all relevant stakeholders in connection with matters affecting the Energy Sector.
  • Other authorities or tasks assigned to the Department by the Executive Council.


Under Law No. 11, the Department has decided to issue two categories of licence:

  • Fast-track Licences (typically for smaller activities, below a certain threshold).
  • Standard Licences (for more complex or larger activities).

The Department will shortly be issuing further guidance on the new Fast-Track Licences in order to best support the Energy Sector and simplify the DoE licencing procedures for undertaking the following activities.

At present, the Department has determined that the following activities require a Standard Licence from the Department:

  • Desalination or production of water
  • Generation of electricity (from gas, solar, nuclear, wind, coal, or any other source)
  • Combined generation and desalination
  • Performance of the duties of ADWEC
  • Transmission of water by mains pipeline
  • Distribution of water by mains pipeline
  • Supply of water to premises
  • Storage of water
  • Storage of electricity
  • Bulk supply of water to the transmission operator
  • Bulk supply of electricity to the transmission operator
  • Transmission of electricity
  • Distribution of electricity
  • Supply of electricity to premises
  • Collection of sewage from premises
  • Treatment and processing of sewage
  • Disposal of wastewater
  • Distribution and supply of recycled water

For enquiries regarding licencing, please contact our licencing team:

Telephone: +971 2 2070 777
Fax: +971 2 6713 750

You will then be required to submit the appropriate licence application along with any licence registration fee to the Department. A high-level assessment of the application to confirm its validity will ensue.

A valid application will then undergo a detailed evaluation to determine the prospective licensee’s legal, financial, managerial, and technical competence. The Department will endeavour to perform this assessment in-house; however, some applications may involve external consultancy advice. Should this be required, these external costs will be recharged to the applicant in the form of an Evaluation Fee.

Once the Department is satisfied that an applicant is competent to hold a licence, a notice of intention to grant a licence is published. The notice period is for a minimum of 28 days. If no objections to the notice are received, a licence will be issued to the applicant and its activities will be regulated in accordance with the licence conditions.

Depending on the nature and complexity of an application, the overall assessment and licencing process for a Standard Licence may take three to four months. In the interests of transparency, the Department publishes on its website a copy of each Licence issued.

Licence Compliance 2014 - 2018

In order to support continuous improvements in the Energy Sector, the Department monitors compliance against each Licence issued by it and engages regularly with licensees on improvements required to improve compliance.

Full compliance with the Licence conditions will lead to the development, operation, and maintenance of a safe, efficient, and economic water, wastewater, and electricity sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The Energy Sector has engaged positively and constructively with this initiative over the last four years and this has resulted in significant compliance improvements across the Energy Sector. This analysis is based on a detailed compliance methodology and detailed compliance grid analysis for each Licensee, with the Compliance team monitoring over 1,200 individual compliance items across the Sector. To promote transparency and to support further improvements, we have published these results for each Major Licensee (which is communicated to each Licensee on a regular basis). These figures will be updated at least twice a year.

© 2020 Department of Energy. All rights Reserved

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