Speaking to The Guardian in Njombe Regin during the weekend, Project Manager, Engineer Mugombe Maxwell said the second phase of the project which involves developing two separate hydro generation facilities, will be completed during the second quarter of the same year.
Eng Maxwell further noted that the associated rural network extension work will see the installation of approximately 36 kms of additional 33 kV power lines, seven village transformers and about 21 kms of 400 Volt village distribution lines.
“It is anticipated that approximately 800 new connections will be made as a result of this rural network extension project, which once complete, will include the supply of electricity to 14 schools, six health centres, 166 small and medium size enterprises and local authority offices for six new villages,” he said.
Eng. Maxwell added: “The number of beneficiaries looks set to expand further given that we have recently signed a results based financing contract with Rural Electrification Agency, though a financial closure is to be achieved prior.”
“We have recently been able to close a U$420,000 bridging loan facility from our local bankers, the CRDB Bank so as to finance the remaining costs of the Luhololo turbine, and so ensure that the Luhololo part of the Luponde project is fully financed,” he observed.
Eng Maxwell said another major achievement of the project has been the signing of the Rural Energy Agency Results Based Financing (RBF) contract which will allow RVE to significantly expand the scope and number of connections to be made.
“The signing of the Rural Energy Agency Results Based Financing contract for the project has enabled us to procure the first batch of power-line materials required under the project,” he noted.
However, he mentioned a main challenge facing the project as being inactivity by TANESCO in progressing the contract as required by the project.
“It is however apparent that TANESCO have since completed their internal review of their position on the contract, and have responded to the Ministry of Energy with their recommendations,” he said.
The closing of the SPPA contract will then trigger the closing of the larger commercial financing facility from TDB for the full project, and allow RVE pay the deposit for the larger Igola turbine, also in the region.
On his part, Lisitu Village Executive Officer, Plasdus Mwapinga said with the coming of the off-grid electricity, the villagers experience major development activities. “With availability of electricity, people will be opening business activities that need power such as milling machines,” said Mwapinga.
Luhololo villager Alex Ludege, backed Mwapinga’s observation saying after getting power supply, villagers will also be connected to the global community through television access.
“We expect to buy TV’s which will help us to be able to watch news and current affairs programmes,” Ludege said.