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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Tanesco: Power outages due to old infrastructure

19th March 2012
  Says electricity generation has gone up
  Seeking 1.3 trillion/- to overhaul system
Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco) Executive Director William Mhando stresses a point, when briefing reporters on recent power cuts at his office in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) has attributed the current power cuts in the country to system failures, saying it requires 1.3 trn/- to overhaul its worn out production, transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Tanesco Managing Director, William Mhando said at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday 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 of yesterday 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.

Mhando was speaking as a joint study by World Bank and Twaweza said half of Tanzania’s households connected to electricity have been experiencing power cuts on four or more days in recent weeks.

He however said the country’s power production capacity when all the sources were functioning well stand at 1, 272MW.

“We need to replace the countrywide electricity systems or otherwise such incidents of power cuts cannot be avoided. Talks are going on with development partners and banks to improve services from production, transmission and distribution”, he noted.

He attributed yesterday’s five-hour power outage in the national grid to technical fault caused by rains.

He said power went off at around 6:53am, and was restored at 10:45am. He stressed that there was no power shedding in the country, adding that the public would be officially informed in case of such a decision.

He said Tanesco customers at the Dares Salaam city centre experienced frequent power cuts last week due to transformer breakdown. He said transformers serving the city center are 35 years old, adding that new ones have been ordered from India and China.

Mhando also mentioned sabotage as among factors contributing to frequent power cuts especially in urban areas. He said thefts of transformer fuel have increased whereby from last December to March this year, Tanesco incurred loss of 400m/- in Kinondoni region alone.

“We have now opted for dry transformers though they are more expensive,” said the power firm boss.

According to Mhando the 408bn/- loan from Citibank will among other things be used to improve infrastructures. He said so far they have secured USD 85 million from the World Bank for improvement of infrastructures in Arusha, Kilimanjaro and Dar es Salaam.

He said the government of Finland has also provided the company with a grant of Euro 25 million to upgrade infrastructures at the Dar city center. He said Tanesco also spent 12 percent of its monthly collections on maintenances.

On implementation of the emergency power plan, Mhando said so far they are getting 372MW from different sources. He said though the target was to generate 540MW, it is not necessary for now to meet the goal as water levels in power generating dams have increased.

Most of the interviewees in the Twaweza/World Bank 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).

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