MPs to investigate fresh TANESCO power rationing THIS DAY A PARLIAMENTARY watchdog committee is to examine the validity of the decision by the state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) to announce crippling 14-hour power cuts due to a reported 65-megawatt (MW) shortfall on the national grid. Members of the Bunge energy and minerals committee will make a fact-finding visit to various power plants owned by the utility to inspect the actual situation on the ground. TANESCO abruptly announced the massive power rationing last week, raising widespread speculation that the move might have been prompted by hidden motives. Concerns of a conspiracy in the load shedding follow TANESCO Managing Director Dr Idris Rashidi's public statement, made earlier this year, that a government decision to reject a dubious proposal to buy used power generation turbines owned by Dowans Tanzania Limited would result in the nation being ?plunged into darkness.? The chairman of the parliamentary energy and minerals committee, William Shellukindo, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that three committee members - accompanied by the Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Adam Malima ? will be dispatched to several TANESCO power plants to assess the situation. The delegation is expected to visit TANESCO's hydro-power stations at Kihansi and Pangani, as well as the Songas gas-to-power plant. After these visits, the committee will meet next Monday to extensively discuss this issue further," Shellukindo, who is Member of Parliament for Bumbuli Constituency on a ruling CCM party ticket, told reporters in the city yesterday. In his prepared statement read by himself at a news conference in the city last March, Dr Rashidi said: "TANESCO would like to announce that it is withdrawing its intention of buying this (Dowans power) plant. We believe we adequately presented our case, and that the people of Tanzania will draw their own conclusions once the nation is engulfed in darkness, hospitals are left without health services, factories shut down, and students at institutions of higher learning start missing classes, simply because we were not decisive enough." The remarks were enough to trigger fresh fears of a possible conspiracy and sabotage to deliberately plunge the nation into a crippling power crisis, all in the name of trying to prove the Dowans turbines purchase bid as being the best option after all. Both the Minister for Energy and Minerals, William Ngeleja, and Rashidi had vigorously pushed for the purchase of the used 100MW thermal power plants from Dowans, inherited from the fraudulent and long-disgraced Richmond Development Company LLC. In its latest public statement released over the weekend, TANESCO announced power cuts to run from 9 am to 11 pm, across the country, for an indefinite period of time, due to a myriad of fresh power generation problems. These were cited as breakdowns at a 20MW gas turbine in Dar es Salaam, the 60MW Kihansi hydroelectric dam, and an 8MW plant at Hale, along with drastic drops in water levels at the Kihansi and Pangani power stations. Various energy experts, however, continue to assert that Tanzania presently has sufficient infrastructure to produce over 1,000 megawatts of electricity, thus no need for any power blackouts, let alone of such magnitude.