The Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) has officially announced a countrywide power rationing following withdrawal of 100 megawatts from the national grid by Aggreko to press for payment of over 230bn/- debt.
Tanesco officials who were summonded by the Parliamentary Parastatal Organisations Committee (POAC) said Aggreko had switched off its generators and was awaiting payment.
For his part Tanesco Executive Director William Mhando admitted to the committee that the power shedding has started officially following the switching off of the Agrekko power plant.
No further details of the load shedding were forthcoming from the officials, but POAC has directed the government through the Ministry of Energy and Minerals to provide Tanesco with 408bn/- to settle the bill.
POAC Chairman Zitto Kabwe also ordered Tanesco to make sure that power generators at the Independent Tanzania Power Limited (IPTL) are switched off in May this year, and that a generator currently being used by Mhando at his residence is removed.
The fuel bill for the generator is reportedly being paid for by the company.
Zitto said that the order to take out the generator at the residence of Tanesco CEO must be implemented from today and applied to other officers using generators whose cost was being covered by the company.
The committee said such expenditures should be stopped as they contributed to more costs.
Zitto told journalists in Dar es Salaam that after going through the company accounts, committee members discovered that Tanecso was facing serious financial problems due to expenditure for purchasing power from private firms.
He said Tanesco incurred a loss of 64bn/- in 2010 due to power purchases from IPTL, a situation experienced in the past four years. He added: “It is better we stop buying power from private sources”.
Giving the statistics of the losses, Zitto said in 2007 the power firm suffered a loss of 69bn/-, while in 2008 the figure went down to 21bn/-. In 2009 Tanesco lost 43bn/- rising to 47bn/- in 2010.
He said Tanesco should now start producing power from its own generators instead of the current system where it purchases electricity from private companies and distributes to its customers.
He explained that Tanesco revenue per year was 466bn/- but the cost of purchasing power from private companies and distributing it to customers was 492bn/-, a loss of 25bn/-.
He also pointed out that Tanesco incurred loss each year from the power it purchased from Songas despite the fact that the gas being used to generate power was being produced in the country.
A week a go Tanzania Electric Supply Company attributed the current power cuts in the country to system failures, saying it requires 1.3trn/- to overhaul its worn out production, transmission and distribution infrastructure.
The reaction followed a study by the World Bank and Twaweza which showed that there were more frequent power cuts recently, which lasted longer.
Most of the interviewees in the study said that power cuts occur more frequently and last longer. They said power outages would typically last more than six hours (40.6 percent) compared to only one in four in the 2010 survey (25.5 percent).
Mhando clarified that the country’s current power generation stands at 718MW while the demand is estimated at between 600MW and 829MW per day.
He gave an example whereby Kihansi dam was generating 100MW, Kidatu 160MW, Mtera 40MW, Pangani 15MW, Hale 5MW and Nyumba ya Mungu 2.6MW.
He said the energy produced from other sources were as follows, Songas 142MW, Ubungo gas plant 102MW, Independent Power Tanzania Limited (IPTL) 60MW, Tegeta gas plant 42MW and Symbion 60MW.