Tanzania: Tulia Demands Load Shedding to End By Jun

Dodoma — The National Assembly has given the government until June this year to completely end the current power rationing in the country.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson said yesterday that despite the next month's deadline that the government has set for itself, the House would not wish to see load shedding problem extended beyond this June.

She was reacting to explanations by Deputy Minister for Energy, Judith Kapinga who told the august House that the first turbine at the 2,115-megawatt Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant Project (JNHPP) was on Thursday successfully switched for trials.

"Honourable Speaker, I'm glad to inform this House that the turbine number nine at the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant Project was successfully switched on for trials yesterday (Wednesday) and it ran to its full capacity of producing 235MW of electricity," she said.

MS Kapinga added that experts were still working on the trials and the exercise was due to be completed yesterday, where the final fine tuning was being done. Later on, she said the official launch and connection to the national grid will be undertaken.

"After testing the connection, the 235MW of power will be fed into the national grid through the line that was being repeatedly shed of power during the past month," she explained.

The deputy minister further said that an additional 235MW will be installed in March from turbine number eight, which will produce a total installed capacity of 470MW, this, she said, will potentially bring to an end the unreliable power situation in the country.

Initially, the deputy minister said that the government had expected the two turbines will be fully operational by June this year, but due to the crisis that had engulfed the nation, engineers had to work around the clock to fast track the project.

"The launching of turbine number nine and installation of power to the national grid remains intact this month...our experts are in the final stages, so that the 235MW is included in the production schedule," she said, adding that a second turbine will come to life next month, meaning that JNHPP could supply a total of 470 megawatts of electricity to the national grid over the next two months. Reacting, Dr Tulia questioned the deputy minister on when exactly the power rationing will end as electricity is key to social and economic activities.

"Much as we laud the government's efforts to fast track this project that was initially penned to be completed in March by switching on two turbines, this House will not wish to come back here in April and keep hearing the same challenge of load shedding, we therefore, give the government until June for the problem to be fixed."

The Speaker's statement followed a question posed by Edwin Swale (LupembeCCM), who demanded to know the status of JNHPP, especially about switching on switch one of the turbines for power production.

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