Kilw — MAJORITY people in Rufiji and Kilwa districts are living without electricity despite the abundant supply of power at Somanga Fungu reportedly due to poverty. Somanga power plant that started operations in August 2010 generates 7.5 Megawatts of electricity against consumption that remains at 2.4MW.
"The capacity to supply electricity to the two districts is high but the people's ability to pay connection charges remains a stumbling block," the power plant supervisor, Mr Osiah Njobelo told a group of visiting journalists at the power plant over the weekend.
Over 10 centres, including towns and villages have so far been connected with gas generated electricity . The towns with electricity are Kilwa Masoko and Kilwa Kivinje while the villages are Njia Nne, Tingi and Nangurukuru.
In Rufiji District, centres like Somanga Ndumbo, Malendegu, Kiwanga, Nyamwage, Utete, Ikwiriri, Kibiti and Bungu have been supplied with power from Somanga Fungu plant. When the project started, the total power consumption stood at only 0.7 MW but progressively the situation has improved to 2.4MW now.
The World Bank funded project is under the Rural Energy Authority (REA). Statistics from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals show that around 15 per cent of the total population has access to electricity.
Together with the power station, 33 kilovolt lines and low voltage lines with a total length of 250 km have been designed and installed in the project area, with NORPLAN involved as the main consultants from inception, design, preparation of tender documents and construction supervision.