Dar es Salaam. Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco), has dispelled fears of possible power rationing in February.
Tanesco managing director Maharage Chande told journalists yesterday that the power utility's mid-term plans would come in handy to rescue the situation. Mr Chande admitted, however, that there could be some few periods of load shedding since the 'Vuli' (autumn) rains didn't go well last year, and February is usually a dry month.
Efforts have been made to ensure the situation remains under control to enable power users to go on with their daily economic activities. Usually the short rains (Vuli) begin in October to December followed by Masika (heavier rains) which starts from March to May.
"Water volumes in the Kihansi hydroelectric power station might be affected," he explained. "But to ensure energy security we have diversified our electricity generation sources with natural gas now playing a key role.
This is part of the mid-term plans that will cushion the effects of any possible rationing," he added. By November 24, 2022, Kihansi power station was only generating 17MW against its full capacity of 180 MW.
According to him it was fortunate that Tanesco had completed maintenance related work at the Kinyerezi II with 45MW injected into the national grid. Ubungo III is also currently generating between 35 and 40MW.
The Kidatu power station is now feeding the national grid with 50MW and that the extension project of the Kinyerezi I has been completed with 120MW being fed in the national grid. Mr Chande is of the view that the power utility's mid-term strategy, which consists of testing one of the plants at Ubungo III later in February and power generation following the expansion of Kinyerezi I, will fill the gap.
"Despite increased electricity supply in the country, demand has kept rising in the past two years. We have witnessed increased annual power demand of 11 per cent in 2022, up from six per cent in 2021. This is driven by increased economic activities," Mr Chande noted.
He said Tanesco will keep on working towards any maintenance that will be needed to make sure there is no power rationing. "Of course we can't make assurances of 100 per cent, but we are going to make sure everything is under control.
Anything from zero to 50 or even 75 megawatts deficit isn't that bad," he noted. "In fact we never had power ration during the months of December and January, but we will do our best to end blackouts," he added.