AS the government implements an ambitious Nyerere Hydro Power Project in Rufiji, Coast Region, a directive has been issued to Tanesco and Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) to start reviewing power tariffs.
Speaking in Dar es Sa laam at the weekend, Energy Minister, Dr Merdad Kalemani, directed Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco)and (Ewura) to have a discussion that would lead to a reduction in power tariffs to enable the majority of Tanzanians to have and use electricity.
The minister said this, when he met with power producers. He said Ewura and Tanesco should consult and involve other stakeholders and collectively plan and set power tariffs that would enable the majority of citizens to have electricity.
"We must reduce the price of electricity to enable the majority of Tanzanians to access electricity, especially at the moment as we are constructing industries," he said, adding that the discussion should also involve those on renewable energy in the private sector to enable them also to reduce prices.
Dr Kalemani said power prices for both Tanesco and the private sector should be reviewed to ensure all citizens accessed electricity at reasonable charges.
He explained that independent power producers of renewable energy charged 2,000/- to 6,000/- per unit, while Tanesco charged 100/- per unit on the maximum of 75 units.
The minister told the independent producers that the price they charged per unit was a burden especially on low income earners.
"We must review our tariffs to facilitate citizens' access to power. While Tanesco charges consumers of below 75 units 100/- per unit, you (private investors) charge 2,000/- to 6,000/- per unit," he noted.
He said if the matter was within the contract or Ewura licence the concerned authorities should review and come up with better prices that will correspond to those offered by public utility to facilitate access and sustainability of electricity.
Meanwhile, Dr Kalemani urged the private sector to invest heavily in renewable energy to supplement the government's efforts in producing and supplying power in the country.
He said the government had set aside $5m for supporting the private sector in the energy sector to conduct studies and invest for the betterment of the country.
"The government provides grants to eligible private power producers to invest in the energy sector," he said, adding that since 2018 to date the government through the World Bank and Sweden, had provided about 50bn/- to private producers in the energy sector to conduct visibility studies and invest in the energy sector He said the country needed to accommodate and produce 10,000MW by 2025 and so there was a need to invest heavily in the energy sector by involving and supporting the private sector to help supplement government's efforts.
He said Tanesco currently produced below 1,600MW as the private sector produced very little. "We need more production and supply of electricity.
We have more and potential reserves of power production especially for mini-hydro production of power, where you (the private sector in renewable energy) fits," he said, adding that studies conducted by the World Bank and the state indicated that there were potential areas spotted, which were eligible to produce 5001,000MW, reiterating the need for eligible independent producers to invest in the areas as they would get government support.