13 January 2014

Tanzania Electricity Supply to Improve

Photo: Ed Mckenna/IPS
Tanzanian government taken to task over power prices (file photo).

Dar es Salaam — Felchemi Mramba, the acting Managing Director of Tanzania's electiricty utility, TANESCO has said power rationing was eased last year following the improvements of gas supplies at the Songosongo generation plants to Dar es Salaam.

Speaking late last year, he said almost 85% of all the maintenance work on the gas wells in Songosongo in Lindi region is done, with the total capacity to produce 330 megawatts but currently supplying 264MW to the national grid.

Tanzania experienced long periods of drought that severely affected supplies from its hydro-power stations. This forced TANESCO to rely on expensive oil-fired power plants, resulting in substantial cost increases over the years.

Mramba said TANESCO made a loss of Tsh147.45 blillion (about $91million) in 2012 following losses of Tsh43.43 billion ($88million) in 2011.

The government wants the power sector financially sustainable so it can help support steady economic growth and stem fiscal pressures on the finance ministry.

According to government projections, the country is expected to generate some 150MW in Singida to the Central Zone of Tanzania of electricity by 2015 in a contract being implemented by China Daliang International Group. Tanzania is the lesading suppiler of gas inthe region.

The Chinese company is undertaking the project in partnership with the National Development Corporation (NDC) which when completed will have a huge impact in improving the lives of millions of Tanzanians.

According to NDC Director General Gideon Nasari, his they had taken up the project due to the country's current focus of finding alternative sources of energy besides hydro-power.

Nasari said the project's completion would mean Tanzanians getting the cheaper electricity.

Experts say last year, with the increasing stability of power the country experienced and the present progressive investments in the energy sector, they are optimistic that Tanzania will soon be enjoying a robust economic growth in coming years.

Experts in the sector have also pointed out that the availability of electricity would play an important role in stabilizing the price of goods on the market as well as leading to the creation of jobs.

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