7 August 2012

Tanzania: No Compensation for Electricity Outage 'Victims' - Simbachawene

Dodoma — THE government has no plans to compensate people adversely affected by electricity outages the country faced recently, including those who lost jobs and businesses.

The Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Mr George Simbachawene, said there is no study that shows how many were affected and the government has no plans of conducting that study because the issue is cross cutting, affecting both the public and private sector.

He said the government will continue to implement its planned strategies of ensuring the country gets enough electricity that meets the needs of the public by using natural gas, coal, solar, wind and geothermal, which are cost effective. He said as of June this year, the installed capacity of power generating plants in the country was at 1,375.5MW, compared to actual public demand of between 600 and 700MW.

The deputy minister admitted that power rationing problem that happened before, in one way or another, affected the social and economic development of many mostly industries and the tourism sector. "It is possible that some people lost their jobs, it is difficult to know this unless a study is conducted, however, the government has no plans to do so or to compensate those who lost their jobs," he added.

Mr Simbachawene was responding to a basic question from Sylvester Mabumba (Dole -CCM) who wanted to know how many people lost their jobs due to power rationing and government's plan to compensate them. Mr Mabumba also wanted to know why the government will not seek assistance from foreign countries to build a nuclear power plant in the country just to generate electricity.

Deputy Minister Simbachawene said the country has uranium which can also be used to produce electricity, enabling the country to do away with using hydropower in the process. However, he said, the challenge remains the country's capacity and meeting international standards required before a country can use uranium to produce electricity safely.

He said use of uranium is coordinated by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which gives the go ahead for establishing uranium plants once a country meets the standards required. "Steps to attain those standards takes a long time, but we do have other sources of generating power, such as natural gas, wind, solar and geothermal, which if utilized well, we can do away with power crises,' he explained.

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