Komani engineer and regulator takes up new post in Mauritius
Komani resident Mbulelo Ncetezo has been appointed as CEO of the Utility Regulatory Authority (URA) of Mauritius, to regulate the electricity supply industry and water and wastewater industries.
“It is very exciting as it presents a lot of challenges in a new country with a different culture and political landscape,”Ncetezo said of the appointment.
Before the major milestone in his career he was operating as an energy consultant, which followed after he had served at the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa ) in 2007. His role at Nersa was to regulate the electricity supply industry licensees Eskom, municipal electricity distributors, private electricity distributors and independent power producers (IPPs).
Ncetezo holds a BSc in physics and chemistry from Fort Hare University; a BSc in electrical engineering from Marquette University and an MSc in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota.
He has also previously worked as an electrical engineer at the then Transkei Electricity Supply Corporation (Tescor) and Eskom.
However, his regulation career began at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in 2000.
“We regulated all broadcasting licensees TV and radio broadcasters, telecommunications service providers and internet service providers.”
He says the electricity supply industry and the water and wastewater industries were still to be developed.
“The Utility Regulation Act of 2005 just got operationalised in June 2022. It’s only now that URA will have powers to regulate the electricity supply industry. We are currently busy registering and licensing the existing and new licensees in order to bring them into the regulation fold. In a nutshell, I am here to set up this new regulator.”
Some of the regulatory issues Mauritius has that are similar to South Africa’s, the CEO said, was what the consumers regarded as high tariffs.
“To make things worse, I joined URA in the middle of a storm as the main utility, the Central Energy Board (CEB), has just lodged a tariff increase application and everybody is waiting with bated breath to hear what the decision is going to be.”
Ncetezo says they are faced with the age-old problem of balancing the interests of the consumer against those of the licensees. The other problem, he said, was the interpretation of the word “independent” when it came to the regulator. “I think this is going to be one of the main challenges as the concept of energy regulation is still new here.”