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Ministry of Public Utilities
 

MAURITIUS

Geographic overview

The Republic of Mauritius comprises a main island of an area of 1870 km2 which lies 800 km off the east coast of Madagascar at latitude 20º south and longtitude 58º east and several outer islands, all of volcanic origin and encircled by fringing coral reefs enclosing lagoons of various sizes. A central plateau and mountains in the central and eastern part constitute the main island's topography. In view of the volcanic origin of the island and the high permeability of underlying rocks in certain areas, most of the rivers and rivulets originate from the central plateau.

Port Louis is the capital of Mauritius. The other towns, Beau Bassin, Rose Hill, Quatre Bornes, Vacoas, Phoenix and Curepipe constitute the bulk of the urban region. Mauritius is divided into nine districts: Port Louis, Black River, Flacq, Grand Port, Moka, Pamplemousses, Plaine Wilhems, Riviere du Rempart Savanne.and three outer island dependencies, the Agalega Islands, the Cargados Carajos Shoals and Rodrigues.

The climate is sub-tropical with only two seasons, winter prevailing from May to September and summer from October to April. The average mid-day temperature on the central plateau varies from 21ºC to 27ºC. Near the coastal regions, temperatures are about 4-5ºC higher. Mauritius is  prone to cyclones almost annually between the months of December and April. The average annual precipitation over the island is 2 100 mm, varying from 1 500 mm on the east coast to 4 000 mm on the central plateau and 900 mm on the west coast.

Energy resources

Mauritius has no known oil, natural gas or coal reserves, and therefore depends on imported petroleum products to meet most of its energy requirements. Local and renewable energy sources are biomass, hydro, solar and wind energy.  Biomass energy consists mainly of bagasse, a by-product of the sugar industry, and contributes about 22 % of the primary energy supply. Fuel wood and charcoal are minimally used. Hydropower plants, with a combined installed capacity of 59 MW, is virtually the entire hydro potential.  Furthermore, Mauritius has a good solar regime with a potential average annual solar radiation value of some 6 kWh/m2/day. The wind regime in Mauritius is very good in some areas, with an annual average speed of 8.1 m/s at 30 m above ground level.

Political overview

In 2000, the population was estimated at 1.2 million. It has been increasing at an average rate of 1 % per annum over the past five years. The ratio of the urban/rural population is 43:57. On the basis of data derived from the household budget survey 1996/97, about 14.5 % of households were living below the poverty line at the time of that survey. The population density is estimated at 585 inhabitants/km2. Almost the entire population has access to commercial energy.

Current situation

Mauritius is made up of a mix of ethnic groups, cultures, languages and religions. Mauritius has succeeded in creating a harmonious society, on the basis that each community cherishes its own special identity, yet respects and tolerates other communities' different identities, and all feel a unity in the equal rights everyone has as a citizen of the country.

Form of government

The Republic of Mauritius is a sovereign democratic state within the Commonwealth with a long tradition of parliamentary democracy.  A written Constitution guarantees fundamental rights such as right to liberty and protection of the law, freedom of conscience, freedom of association, movement of opinion, freedom of expression, freedom of creed and of religious belief as well as the right to private property.  The President, who is the Head of State, is elected by the National Assembly.  The Prime Minister, is the head of the government and is appointed by the President.  He is responsible to the National Assembly.  Distinct and separate  powers are shared by the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Economic overview

The local currency is the rupee (Rs or MUR). In the year 2000, the rate of exchange for 1 US dollar was 26.26 rupees.

During the past twenty years, the Mauritian economy has diversified from a sugar-cane monocrop economy in the 1970s to one based on sugar, manufacturing (mainly textiles and garments) and tourism in the 1980s. The republic is developing the financial services as the fourth pillar of the economy and is looking forward to making a great step ahead in information technology.

In 2000, the gross domestic product (GDP) was Rs 104 517 million and the economy has been growing at an average annual rate of 5.4% since the beginning of the previous decade. GDP per capita at market prices increased from US$ 1300 in 1990 to US$ 3,600 in 2000.
The unemployment rate for 2000 was 8.8 %, whereas inflation stood at 5.4 %.  Table 1 shows the GDP of the different sectors of the economy.

Table 1.Gross domestic product by industry group
Percentage distribution: year 2000

Sectors

Percent

Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing

6.8

Mining and quarrying

0.1

Manufacturing

23.6

Electricity, gas and water

1.7

Construction

6.0

Wholesale and retail trade, etc

12.5

Hotels and restaurants

5.6

Transport, storage and communication

13

Financial intermediation

9.1

Real estate, renting and business activities

9.1

Public administration, etc

6.6

Education

4.6

Health and social work

2.9

Other services

3.9

FISIM

-5.4

Gross domestic product at basic prices

100.0

Note 1: Financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM) is the difference between interest received and interest paid by banks excluding those received on won funds.  As it is difficult to allocate FISIM to the intermediate consumption of different industries, the total value of FISIM is imputed to a nominal industry with a negative value added.  Note that the inclusion of FISIM in the national accounts follows the recommendation of the United Nations 1993 System of Accounts (SNA).

Energy sector overview

Energy governance

The Ministry of Public Utilities (MPU) is responsible for the design and implementation of energy policy. It is responsible for the power sector (as well as the water and waste water sectors) and oversees the power utility, the Central Electricity Board (CEB). The CEB, which is also a generator and supplier of electricity, currently acts as the electricity regulator. Under the CEB Act, the CEB is statutorily responsible for the control and development of electricity supply in Mauritius. As such, CEB is empowered to "carry out development schemes with the objective of promoting, co-ordinating and improving the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity throughout Mauritius as required". The Electricity Act of 1939 (amended 1991), Electricity Regulations of 1939 and Central Electricity Board Act (1964) comprised the legislative framework for the Electricity sector and CEB's operations.

The Ministry of Commerce and Cooperatives (MIC) has the responsibility of the petroleum sector, with the State Trading Corporation (STC), which is responsible for the import of all petroleum products falling under its aegis. Gasoline, diesel, and kerosene are distributed by Shell, Esso, Caltex and Total, via filling stations. The Petroleum Act of 1970 (amended 1991) and the Consumer Protection Act (Price and Supplies) of 1998 under which, inter-alia, petroleum products prices are regulated, are implemented/enforced by the MIC.

The Petroleum Act primarily includes provisions for the granting of prospecting and mining leases for petroleum. However, as of todate, Mauritius has no known indigenous sources of petroleum. The Consumer Protection Act (Prices and Supplies) of 1998 empowers Government to control the import and prices of petroleum products. Mogas, gasoil, kerosene and fuel oil are all imported by the STC. The pump price  of these products include excise duty and wholesale and retail margins added to the CIF cost. Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) is imported by a private company, the Energy Storage Company Limited. The price of LPG is also set by government. The price of jet fuel is not regulated, nor is the import and distribution of coal.

Environmental regulations include the new Environment Protection Act of 2002. The object of these regulations is to provide for an institutional and legislative framework for the management and protection of the environment. This legislation is generally based on European Standards and revisions are made as and when necessary.

Detailed economic data on public finance and banking, the national accounts, the balance of payments, the CPI, trade, labour, as well as detailed demographic data is published by the Central Statistical Office. Data is collected for each energy source and fuel type. Data on imports, petroleum products, and coal are available on a quarterly basis at the Statistical Unit of the MPU. Data on the re-export of aviation fuel, diesel and fuel oil is also collected.

Energy data is analysed by the MPU and compiled according to the recommendations of the United Nations manual, series F No 29 on Energy Statistics. Economic sectors are classified according to the International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC). Historical data since 1980 is available.

The energy balances and data series may be downloaded from the website http://statsmauritius.gov.mu under the section 'Digest of Energy Statistics 2001'.

Government policy is to encourage a greater use of sources other than oil for the generation of electricity, through the optimisation of the use of local and renewable energy sources. Furthermore, Government has initiated action to reform the power sector. In this context, the legal and institutional framework has been reviewed by a consultancy firm. The consultants has also advised on the setting up of a regulatory body. Another objective is to carry out a financial re-engineering of the CEB with a view to improving its financial situation.

Resources and reserves

As stated earlier, Mauritius has no known oil, natural gas or coal reserves, and is therefore heavily dependent on imported energy carriers. The country imports some 900 000 tons of petroleum products, comprising 380 CST and 180 CST heavy fuel oil, gasoline, diesel, kerosene and LPG, and 225 000 tons of coal annually. The imported petroleum products and coal account for 75.4 % of the primary energy requirements. (See Table 2). The balance is met from local and renewable sources, especially bagasse (a by-product of sugar cane processing) and hydro. Government policy is to promote the use of renewable energy with a view to reducing dependency on imported energy carriers.

Table 2:  Primary energy requirement - Year 2000

 

Percentage

Imported

 

Gasoline

8.8

Diesel oil

17.0

Dual purpose kerosene

12.1

Fuel oil

19.1

LPG

4.4

Sub-total (petroleum products)

61.5

Coal

13.9

Sub-total (imported)

75.4

Local

 

Hydro/Wind

1.9

Bagasse

22.1

Fuel wood

0.7

Sub-total (local)

24.6

Total

100.0

Being in the tropics, the country has a very good solar regime. One way to take advantage of this source of energy is through solar heaters for domestic water heating.   Although solar water heating is considered economically attractive by the government, a number of factors have hampered its large-scale adoption by the public. Easy access to the electricity grid and reliable power supply combined with the relatively high prices of solar water heaters has restrained purchasing. Low interest loan facilities are available at the Development Bank of Mauritius for the purchase of solar water heaters. They cost approximately US$ 800-1000 each.

The wind regime in Mauritius is very good in some areas, with an annual average speed of 8.1m/s at 30m above ground level. Pilot projects in the mid-1980s were not successful, as the wind turbines were damaged by cyclones. However, there has since been significant technological advancements in the design of turbines accompanied by cost reductions.  Government therefore intends to promote the setting up of a wind farm in the country on a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) scheme.

Biomass energy in Mauritius consists mainly of bagasse, fuel wood and charcoal. Bagasse is the most plentiful primary energy resource, representing about 22 % of the country's primary energy supply. In the year 2000, the annual production of bagasse amounted to 1 553 300 tonnes. During the crop season, bagasse is used by the sugar industry to meet all their energy requirements in terms of heat and electricity generation and any surplus power is fed into the national grid. As regard the firm power producers bagasse and coal are used for power generation and same is fed into the national grid all year round.  This currently represents about 18% of total annual generation. Coal is used only during the intercrop season at the three firm IPPs. There is still a potential to increase this contribution through a rehabilitation and centralisation programme for the sugar industry.

The need for fuel wood and charcoal is almost negligible. This is because LPG, which is widely used for cooking purposes, is available throughout the island, as well as in the island of Rodrigues and Agalega.

Hydropower potential is almost fully tapped in Mauritius and with competitive use of the existing water resources, there is now little scope for any further development of hydro power in the country. There are eight hydropower plants with a combined installed capacity of 59 MW. However, because of seasonal rain conditions and limited storage capacity, only two of the hydro plants can generate all year round during peak hours only. The other six generate as and when water is available, particularly during the period of January to March.

Infrastructure

Electricity consumption in Mauritius has risen sharply in recent years as a result of sustained economic growth and a general improvement in the standard of living. Between 1991 and 2000, the annual increases in electricity consumption and maximum demand averaged over 9,0 % and 8.0 % respectively (see Table 4). The peak demand in 2000 was 284 MW and electricity sales reached 1375 GWh. Mauritius is fully electrified and a 132 kV network (presently being used at 66 kV) has already been set up to cater for increasing demand and to reduce losses from the present value of 11,5 % to 10,0 %. Moreover, new requests for connection to the grid, especially for new buildings, are addressed within a relatively short period.

The economic growth and the general improvement in the standard of living have necessitated massive investments in the energy infrastructure for power generation from oil,coal and bagasse and upgrading of the transmission system.

As an insular country, Mauritius has no potential for interconnection in the event of an outage or insufficient generation capacity. This calls for a high reserve margin in the power sector and well developed maintenance systems to ensure a reliable power supply. The uncertainty in planning to meet power and peak power demand is contingent on  the seasonal hydropower availability and the degree of accuracy of load forecasts.

As can be seen from Figure 3, the CEB effective generating capacity in 2000 was 367 MW and was made up of thermal and hydro plants. This capacity was supplemented by about 210 MW bagasse and coal based power from three sugar industry IPPs. The system reserve capacity may appear to be very comfortable. However, because of a large variation in the seasonal generating capacity of bagasse and hydro plants, the age of some of the older units and the islanded nature of the system, this reserve margin is desirable to provide a reliable supply with an acceptable loss of load probability.  Most of CEB's thermal generating facilities are based around the port in Port Louis (northwestern part of the island) and where on-shore fuel handling facilities are available. CEB uses heavy fuel oil, for its base load plants and kerosene for the gas turbines used for peak lopping. The hydro facilities are located in the southern mountainous regions, where the water catchment areas are located.  The IPPs are operated as co-generation plants by the sugar industry, with bagasse as fuel source during the crop season, and coal during the off-crop season.

Table 3:Principal sources of electricity generation, Year 2000

Station type

Effective capacity
(MW)

Energy production
(GWh )

CEB Thermal

313

888

CEB Hydro

54

95

IPP

210

794

The evolution of electricity supply and demand in terms of plant capacity, peak demand, electricity generation and consumption over the period 1995-2000 is shown in Table 4.  The breakdown of consumers and consumption by category is given in Table 5.

Table 4: Electricity supply and demand, 1995-2000

Year

Plant capacity (MW)

Peak demand (MW)

Electricity generated *(GWh)

Sale of electricity (GWh)

 

Installed

Effective

 

Hydro

Wind

Thermal

Total

 

1995

    368.6

   335.3

200.5

135.0

0.04

1030.5

1165.5

913.9

1996

    368.6

   335.3

218.7

104.5

0.10

1167.6

1272.2

996.0

1997

    406.7

   374.4

238.1

93.2

0.05

1305.0

1398.2

1087.4

1998

    486.4

   402.1

248.9

104.7

-

1434.2

1538.9

1190.3

1999

    528.3

   431.1

265.8

30.0

-

1554.8

1584.8

1244.1

2000

  660.8**

   577.2* *

283.9

95.7

-

1681.0

1777.5

1374.6

*  includes electricity generated and used by  IPPs.
**includes plant capacity for electricity not exported to CEB, figures not available for prior years.

Table 5: Breakdown of consumers and consumption by category

Category

Number of consumers
2000

 

Average annual growth rate
1995-2000

Energy consumption
2000
(GWh)

Anuual energy growth rate
1995-2000

Domestic

288 520

(89.1%)

 

3.4%

491.9

(35.8%)

 

7. 7 %

Commercial

27 831

(8.6%)

 

3.3%

374.8

(27.3%)

 

10.0%

Industrial

7 008

(2.2%)

 

1.5%

485.8

(35.4%)

 

8.24%

Others

293

(0.1%)

 

4.4%

21.4

(1.6%)

 

8.0%

Total

323 652

(100.0%)

 

3.3%

21.4

1.6%

 

8.0%

At present, the transmission voltage of the CEB system, which interconnects the major load centres and generating stations, is 66 kV. The CEB has recently upgraded its transmission system to 132 kV through the construction of a 37 km long double circuit 132 kV line. This line will be operated at 66 kV up to the year 2005 or until the loading on the 66kV networks warrants increasing the voltage.

The distribution voltages in Mauritius are 22 kV, 6,6 kV and 400 volts. The 22 kV system provides the bulk power distribution and forms multiple loops around  various load centres.

A new system control and data acquisition (SCADA) system was commissioned in 2001. The system is located at the CEB's Central Load Dispatch Centre and is used for system operation and control. The SCADA system is used for the automatic remote operation of circuit breakers and  transformer tap changers, and to monitor system parameters such as frequency, load current on individual feeders, for generation scheduling, and for hydro storage management, etc. Operational control is executed up to the 6.6 kV breaker level.

The SCADA system receives telemetered data from new remote terminal units located at individual sub-stations via a 1.5 GHz microwave link. Furthermore, improved communication is made via a private telephone network linking the control centre with all power stations, 66/22 kV sub-stations and IPPs. Most of the load growth on the island has been from the northern, northwestern and central regions, where the hotel, commercial and residential loads are located. These areas account for almost 80 % of the total system load.

Opportunities and challenges

The Board of Investment (BOI) has been set up under the Investment Promotion Act 2000 with a streamlined legal framework to make better provisions for the promotion and facilitation of investment in Mauritius. The BOI acts as a facilitator and provides a one-stop-shop service to both local and foreign investors, ensuring the reliable and speedy processing of applications.

There are a number of investment opportunities in power generation in line with Government Policy to encourage Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the sector.

Contacts

Ministry of Public Utilities
Permanent Secretary
Physical address: 10th Level, Air Mauritius Centre, President John Kennedy Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 210 1816
Fax: +230 208 6497
E-mail: minpuuti@intnet.mu

Ministry of Industry and Commerce     
Permanent Secretary
Physical address: 7th Level, Air Mauritius Centre, President John Kennedy Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 201 1068
Fax: +230 211 0855

Board of Investment
Managing Director
Physical address: 10th Floor, One Cathedral Square Building, 16, Jules Koenig Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 203 3800
Fax: +230 208 2924
E-mail: contact@investmauritius.com
Website: www.investmauritius.com

Central Statistics Office
The Director
Physical address: L.I.C Centre, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 212 2316
Fax: +230 211 4150
E-mail: cso@intnet.mu

Central Electricity Board
The General Manager
Postal address: P O Box 40, Royal Road, Curepipe, Mauritius
Tel: +230 601 1100
Fax: +230 675 7958
E-mail: ceb@intnet.mu

State Trading Corporation
The General Manager
Physical address: 3rd Floor, Fon Sing Building, 12 Edith Cavell Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 208 5440
Fax: +230 208 8359
E-mail: stcin@intnet.mu

Energy Storage Company Ltd
The Manager
Physical address: 5 St Georges Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 212 2222
Fax: +230 208 8347

Shell Mauritius Ltd
The Manager
Physical address: 5 St Georges Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 212 2222
Fax: +230 208 8347

Esso Mauritius Ltd
The Managing Director
Physical address: Chaussee Tromelin, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 216 4040
Fax: +230 240 4042

Caltex Oil Mauritius Ltd
The General Manager
Physical address: Caltex House, Quay D Road, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 206 6000
Fax: +230 241 7140
E-mail: caltex@bow.intnet.mu

Total Mauritius Ltd
The Managing Director
Physical address: 18 Edith Cavell Street, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 231 6301
Fax: +230 212 2778

Elf Gaz (Maurice) Ltd
The Managing Director
Physical address: Marine Road, Quay D, Port Louis, Mauritius
Tel: +230 240 8047
Fax: +230 242 5930
E-mail: elfgaz@intnet.mu

The STC, which falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Commerce and Co-operatives, imports all petroleum products except for LPG, which is imported by a private company, the Energy Storage Company Limited. Government regulates all costs and prices.. LPG is available at all retailers as well as in the shops and supermarkets. Transportation is by road and ship to outlying islands. Elf is only involved in the distribution of LPG, which is used mainly for cooking. Government has recently allowed a new entrant, Indian Oil, into the petroleum sector. The STC is responsible for ensuring that strategic reserves are available in the country. All petroleum reservoirs/tanks are located at Mer Rouge.

Coal is imported by the private sector and is unregulated. It is used mostly by the sugar industry IPPs to generate electricity during the off-crop season. The textile industries use coal in their boilers for steam production. A minimal amount is used by households for cooking.

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Last Updated: 18 June 2012