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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Symbion to add 50 MW to national grid

10th May 2012
  Tanesco: Mtera water to give power for only three months
Tanesco Managing Director, William Mhando

Symbion Power announced yesterday that 50MW were expected from its new Arusha plant in the next two weeks as Tanesco warned that Mtera would generate electricity only go up to August.

Addressing reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Tanesco Managing Director, William Mhando said water levels at Mtera dam had dropped to about 1.36 meters, which is only able to produce electricity for three months.

He said the company will be forced to use other sources of energy, if the situation of water at Mtera does not improve, stressing that the use of fuel to produce power was very expensive.

“If we start using fuel, things will be more expensive. We are spending 26bn/- a month to run Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) plants,” he said, adding: “We still have faith that rains will come and things might work out.”

Meanwhile Symbion Power has said its 50 MW power plant installed in Arusha Region is set to be operational in the next two weeks — under the public-private partnership drive aimed to solve the power crisis.

Symbion Power Chief Executive Officer, Paul Hinks said yesterday that construction of the firm’s 50MW power plant in Arusha has already been completed and that the company was waiting for certain connections to the system before switching it on.

“The plant will be operational in the next two weeks, or even earlier….that’s what I can say for now,” said Symbion CEO.

The plant is part of a comprehensive emergency power plan which seeks to pump more electricity into the national grid in bid to ease the crisis which has gripped the country for years.

In the implementation of the emergency power plan, the US-based Symbion Power was contracted to produce and supply to Tanesco 205 MW.

The American firm has constructed power plants in Dodoma and Arusha, producing a total of 105 MW, fulfilling its promise of producing additional electricity as specified in the emergency power plan.

The CEO said: “The power plants that Symbion has built in Dodoma and Arusha will be available to TANESCO when they are needed later this year.”

He explained that the balance of 100MW had been delayed until August by TANESCO to save the government money.

Hinks stressed: “The next 100MW will be ready in time for the onset of low water levels at Mtera. At the same time as we have been building these 2 plants (in Dodoma and Arusha) Tanesco and their contractors Jacobsen have built an impressive new power plant in Ubungo next to the Symbion plant. All this additional capacity will be available this year.”

“As everyone knows, there is a gas constraint issue in Tanzania that needs to be solved on an urgent basis and we are hopeful that the projects that are slated to solve this will soon be underway,” said Hinks.

He noted that Tanzania needed much more power in order to keep up with its impressive development record of recent years.

“I can tell you that in America, Tanzania is considered to be one of the most successful growing economies in Africa today. That’s something every Tanzanian should be very, very proud of,” observed Symbion’s chief executive officer.

Power shortages have hampered the country’s economic growth, fuelled inflation and stagnation of business operations.

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