Technical ‘glitch’ at fault for latest power blackout, says TANESCO

01Dec 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Technical ‘glitch’ at fault for latest power blackout, says TANESCO
  • Despite the power firm’s efforts to streamline its public relations approach, the general feeling remains that such abrupt power cuts are now becoming increasingly frequent...

THE Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) has said in its latest statement that a technical glitch was responsible for yesterday’s protracted power blackout that affected all regions connected to the national grid.

According to the state-run power utility firm, the outage occurred at around 4 am early Thursday, and by mid-morning when the statement was issued, it was still trying to fix the fault.

“Our technicians are working tirelessly to restore power supply,” the TANESCO statement stressed, though it was later learnt that the power shutdown across the country lasted almost the entire day.

Despite TANESCO efforts to establish social media communication channels and set up several emergency hotlines, members of the public feel that such abrupt power cuts have become too frequent, especially over the past month or so.

The fast-spreading general public opinion is that the situation is causing untold inconveniences to clients, especially those involved in business activities that are dependent on the availability of electricity.

Those that can afford it have had to resort to the regular use of fuel-guzzling power generators as back-ups, thereby pushing up their operating costs in increasingly difficult economic times countrywide.

Electricity being key to most businesses, blackouts tend to lead to massive losses to entrepreneurs and the government itself due to missed hours of production.

Tanzania has a total of 1,358 megawatts (MW) of installed electricity grid generation capacity to serve a population of over 50 million, and an additional 76 MW in isolated mini-grids.

But the power woes continue, despite ongoing government efforts to set up the right foundation for a national industrialization revolution in a few years to come.

Just over a month ago (October 29), Energy Minister Dr Medard Kalemani signalled a strong government intent to get to the root of the matter once and for all by sacking the Kidatu hydropower station manager for failing to explain the cause of an almost two-day power blackout that hit most parts of the country.

Kalemani also ordered TANESCO’s protection manager to “voluntarily resign should the blackouts continue,” and pledged further moves to ensure there would be no more clandestine power cuts of the same kind.

He said the government will no longer tolerate lazy or unscrupulous TANESCO workers. “If there’s someone sabotaging our nation’s power supply system, let us (government) know," stated the minister.

Blackout explanations offered by TANESCO have varied in recent weeks from a key electric cable break on the national grid to a clean-up exercise at the Kinyerezi I gas plant.

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