SONGAS and Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) are the only independent power producers currently generating electricity for the national grid, according to Tanesco.
The power utility said yesterday that Aggreko and Symbion Power Tanzania were now on stand-by. Installed capacity at natural gas-fired Songas plant at Ubungo is 189MW while IPTL uses Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) and its generation capacity is 103MW, though generation varies from time to time depending on demand for the national grid.
Tanesco Acting Manager for Public Relations, Mr Adrian Severin, said this is due to the fact that the country at present produces power from other cheap sources namely hydro and thermal power.
"Hydro-power plants are now producing between 450 and 500MW out of the installed capacity of 561.84MW while three gas plants owned by Tanesco at Ubungo and Tegeta produce a total of 252MW.
"This brings total production from hydro and thermal to about 752MW which is sufficient for the demand in the national grid. The peak demand for electricity in Tanzania was lastly recorded at 898.5MW," Mr Severin explained.
Combined generation at Symbion stands at 120MW in which it produces 60MW on jet-1 fuel and 60MW from natural gas while Aggreko generates 100MW using HFO at its plants located at Ubungo and Tegeta areas in the city.
However, Mr Severin explained that the Symbion and Aggreko plants have now been put on standby and are only used in emergency situations.
"In situations where water levels at our hydro plants have dropped or when some of the thermal plants are undergoing maintenance we usually ask Aggreko and Symbion to chip in," the Tanesco publicist stated.
Commenting via phone yesterday on why he thinks his company still generates power for the national grid, although the plant uses HFO which raises production cost, IPTL's Executive Chairman, Mr Harbinder Sethi said IPTL under the management of Pan Africa Power Solutions (PAP) moved away from getting super profit to operating at a cost effective manner with an aim of giving the country (consumers) affordable power.
"It is true that producing power from HFO is expensive and that is why we have plans to install a 200MW gas fired power plant adjacent to IPTL in our phase I of the expansion plans. Discussions are ongoing with all concerned authorities.
The aim is to ensure that Tanzanians get the cheapest power in the region and a larger population is reached soon," he said.
Mr Sethi was optimistic that with the transformation PAP has brought to IPTL, the Company will play a major role in transforming the state of electricity availability and affordability in the country.
Hydro power plants in the country are Kidatu 204MW, Kihansi 180MW, Mtera 80MW, Nyumba ya Mungu 8MW, New Pangani 68MW as well as Hale 21MW.
On the other hand, Tanesco operates two gas plants at Ubungo with combined generation capacity of 207MW in addition to one gas-fired plant in Tegeta with a capacity of 45MW and another plant that uses heavy furnace oil (HFO) in Nyakato, Mwanza with a capacity of 63MW.