Tanzania: Rural electrification to reach over 300 villages

Power transmission line16 September 2013, Dar es Salaam – Over 360 villages in Kagera Region will get electricity under the Rural Energy Agency, REA, hopefully ending power blues that haunted the region for quite a long time.

Kagera Regional TANESCO Manager, engineer Martin Madulu, told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview that over 60 villages in Misenyi District would now get electricity supply.

He named some of the villages to include Mutukula, Katendaguro, Kashaka, Mbale, Busaizi, Byazi, Nyungwe, Ruralo, Kashenye, Kabambilo and Buyango.

In Bukoba Rural district 58 villages were earmarked to get electricity. They include Bugwantora, Katendaguro, Katale, Kashekya, Ishozi, Tweyambe, Katano, Irango, Burugo, Matembe, Ntungamo, Kalema and Bishaka. According to Engineer Madulu, over 100 villages in Muleba district were earmarked to get electricity under REA.

They include Kangantebe, Muhutwe, Mayondwe, Itoju, Kimbugu and Kamachumu. In Biharamulo district 16 villages were earmarked to get electricity. They include Busalala, Kasenga, Nyakanazi, Kabindi and Rwagati. In Kyerwa district 41 villages were earmarked to get electricity.

They include Isingiro, Nkwenda, Kihinda, Kyerwa, Nyaruzumbura, Milambi, Rwabigaga, Nyamiaga. REA recently signed agreements on the implementation of the second phase plan to supply electricity to only 14 regions out of 24 earmarked for the power supply due to lack of qualified contractors with required standards to work for the remaining ten regions.

The 14 regions that will witness electric power connectivity include Simiyu, Katavi, Shinyanga, Njombe, Tabora, Mwanza, Mtwara, Singida, Kilimanjaro, Iringa, Mara, Dodoma, Arusha and Ruvuma.

The Chairperson of the Rural Energy Board, Ambassador Ami Mpungwe, said the move aimed at ensuring that 30 per cent of the Tanzanian population access electric power by the year 2015. He said 88.1bn/- would be pumped into the project scheduled to be completed by the year 2015.

Ambassador Mpungwe mentioned regions that lacked required contractors as Kagera, Mbeya, Geita, Kigoma, Lindi, Manyara, Morogoro, Coast, Rukwa and Tanga. The new tender will be re-announced in October this year and its implementation will go along with other regions which had secured contractors. He said the first phase of the programme started in 2010/2011.

REA provided grants to implement electric power projects in 16 regions where the phase was scheduled to be completed by December 2013 and enabling 24,000 new customers access electric power.

During his recent tour of Kagera Region, President Jakaya Kikwete assured people that it was the intention of the government to ensure most Tanzanians get power supply within a short period.

The Minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo, said the number of Tanzanians getting electricity increased from ten per cent during 2010 to 21 per cent this year and would reach 30 per cent by 2015.

He said the budget for his ministry also increased from 642.3bn/- during 2011/2012 to over 1.4 tril/- this financial year. Meanwhile, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) has appealed to Kagera residents to reschedule their normal duties as the region starts a 40-week power rationing starting September 1, this year.

Kagera Regional TANESCO Manager, engineer Martin Madulu, said that the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), which is a government power utility, would be undertaking major rehabilitation along Masaka-Mutukula power line.

He noted that under agreement reached between TANESCO and UETCL, Kagera Region will be getting normal electricity supply starting Monday to Thursday, while on Friday, Saturday and Sunday electricity will be cut starting 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Engineer Madulu appealed to residents to utilize evening hours to do such works which can be done during day time especially on weekends.

He assured people that sensitive areas including the Bukoba Referral hospital, water pumping stations and the Regional Commissioner’s office would be supplied electricity through standby generators situated at Kibeta Ward. He said the power rationing to begin on September 1, this year would last up to June, next year.

Sources said over the last ten years, Uganda has had an acute shortage of electricity, which has negatively affected the nation’s economy and the well-being of its citizens. The system demand has been registered at 445MW against the actual generation of 310MW at peak time.

The result of the electricity supply deficit is that electricity would be rationed at peak times. The outcome of this for industry is that each investor had to purchase alternative sources of power like standby generators leading to increased costs of manufacturing and ultimately reduce competitiveness of Ugandan products.

The main cause of the electricity supply deficit in the country has been lack of new generation Plants. In addition, the impact of prolonged drought as well as the growth in demand arising from Uganda’s population and limited public and domestic investments in the power sector.

The Completion of the 250 MW Bujagali Hydropower Project developed by the Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL), a joint venture company of Sithe Global Power, LLC and the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, promises to deal with the acute power shortage in the country.

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