Zambia: Rukwa Now Feels Pinch of Power Rationing in Zambia

RUKWA — RESIDENTS of Rukwa Region have started to experience power rationing due to prolonged drought affecting neighbouring Zambia.

That is for decades, the Sumbawanga Town has been receiving power from Lunzua Hydro Power Station in neighbouring Zambia.

The power station is located in Mbala Township that is 98 kms from Sumbawanga town. According to Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO), Zambia is currently struggling to meet its electricity demands as most of its powers are generated from water sources.

Also Read: Zambia declares national emergency over drought

Tanzania National Electricity Supply (TANESCO) through its Office of Public Relation and Client Services in Rukwa Region announced yesterday that power rationing will affect all three districts of Sumbawanga, Nkasi, and Kalambo as well as Sumbawanga Municipality.

Administratively Sumbawanga District has Sumbawanga District Council and Sumbawanga Municipal Council.

Recently, TANESCO attributed the weeklong power rationing in Sumbawanga to declining of power generation that is affected by prolonged drought affecting neighbouring Zambia.

In March this year Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema declared a national disaster to tackle the prolonged drought affecting the country.

Addressing the nation last month, Mr Hichilema said 84 districts out of a total of 116 were affected.

Zambia has been experiencing poor rain, with fears mounting that the country may experience hunger and struggle to meet its electricity demands as most of its energy is from water sources.

Water levels at Kariba Dam - which Zambia and neighbouring Zimbabwe use for hydroelectricity - had fallen to about 11.5 per cent of usable storage as of last December.

The president said the drought would affect the generation of more than 450 megawatts of power. He said almost half of the land used for planting crops had been affected by the dry spell.

Rukwa Region has a grid substation at Sumbawanga Town with a capacity of 15 MVA 66/33/11 KV and receives power supply from Mbala Township in neighbouring Zambia.

Also Read: Rukwa records success in road construction

However, construction of new 15 MVA transformer in Rukwa had increased the generation of power to 30 MVA.

Also, some parts of Mlele District in Katavi Region receive its power supply from Sumbawanga town Equally the government has spent more than 3.28bn/- to compensate residents in Rukwa Region, who pave the way for the construction of the high voltage lines to connect the region with the national power grid.

Rukwa Regional Commissioner (RC), Makongoro Nyerere said during a media briefing that the move will connect the region with a reliable power supply from Mbeya's 400KV.

"The 400 KV double lines will connect Sumbawanga municipality via backbone transmission project," noted the RC.

The project is funded by the World Bank (WB) and the procedure of engaging the contractor has started.

"The region is depending on fuel and hydropower station from Zambia, a situation that made the region unable to get reliable power supply thus sometimes affecting production activities," he said adding:

"This project will end that problem... as a region that moves towards industrial economy, we must have a reliable power supply."

In quick analysis, the region has four oil-powered generators installed at Sumbawanga substation with capacity to generate 3.75 Megawatts of electricity Likewise, the Sumbawanga Substation has five lines including Namanyere, Kalambo, Laela, North and South Feeders which supply power across the region.

AllAfrica publishes around 400 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.