In 2004, the Government of Mauritius approved the setting up of a Utility Regulatory Authority (URA) and the URA Act was enacted in November 2004 to set up a regulatory framework for the electricity, water and wastewater sectors. However, the Authority did not become operational since the Board was not constituted. Some amendments were made to the Act in 2008, essentially with regard to the method of appointment of the Chairperson and Commissioners. In 2016, further amendments were made, this time with regard to the qualifications and experience of the Chairperson and Commissioners.
Objects of the Authority
Subject to the relevant Utility legislation, the objects of the Authority shall be to –
(a) ensure the sustainability and viability of utility services;
(b) protect the interests of both existing and future customers;
(c) promote efficiency in both operations and capital investments in respect of utility services; and
(d) promote competition to prevent unfair and anti-competitive practices in the utility services industry.
Functions and powers of Authority
(1) Subject to the relevant Utility legislation, the Authority may:
(a) implement the policy of Government relating to applicable utility services;
(b) grant, vary and revoke licences in respect of a utility service;
(c) enforce the conditions laid down in an undertaking authorisation;
(d) regulate tariffs and other charges levied by a licensee in accordance with any rules specified in the relevant Utility legislation;
(e) mediate or arbitrate disputes between a customer and a licensee, or between 2 or more licensees;
(f) determine whether a licensee has an obligation to extend a utility service to customers or to an area not adequately supplied with such utility service;
(g) establish an appropriate procedure for receiving and enquiring into complaints by customers in relation to any utility services; and
(h) establish and implement adequate systems for monitoring the compliance by licensees with standards and applicable regulations, and making such information publicly available.
(i) take measures for the better protection of customers in relation to any utility services;
(j) take measures to suppress any abusive, illegal or dishonourable practices in relation to any activity of a licensee;
(k) take measures and make recommendations to a licensee in respect of any Power Purchase Agreement which a licensee proposes to enter into; and
(l) examine and make recommendations to a licensee in respect of any management services contract, operation and maintenance contract or any other contract which a licensee proposes to enter into in relation to water services or waste water disposal services.
(2) The Authority may do all such things as appear requisite and advantageous in furtherance of its objects.
(3) In furtherance of its objects, the Authority shall satisfy itself that licensees are able to operate efficiently and to generate revenues sufficient to finance the provision of utility services.
(4) Subject to subsection (5), the Authority may in the public interest examine any Power Purchase Agreement entered into by a licensee and make such recommendations as it considers appropriate to the parties to the agreement for the protection of customers in relation to any utility services.
(5) Before making any recommendation, the Authority shall allow the parties to any Power Purchase Agreement to make such representations as they deem appropriate.