By DAILY NEWS Reporters, 18th May 2011 @ 20:00 MOST of the country will go without electricity for sixteen hours a day for about a week effective on Thursday as the load shedding exercise announced by the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) begins. According to the power utility firm, the load shedding which will end on June 29, has been necessitated by the deficit of over 250 megawatts in the National Grid due to the shutdown of all gas wells on Songosongo Island. It will involve all regions which are linked to the national grid. As a result of the shut down, the Songas, Ubungo Gas Plant and Tegeta Gas Plant will suspend power generation for four consecutive days. Tanescos Communications Manager Badra Masoud has stated that the shedding will not affect strategic areas such as the Muhimbili National Hospital, district hospitals and the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (Dawasco) water pumps. Kagera, Kigoma, Rukwa, Mtwara, and Lindi customers would be spared from the black-out as the regions are not connected to the national grid. For those who can afford it, fuel guzzling, noisy and smoke-emitting generators, power back-up converter systems and, to some extent, solar power will be used as alternative supply gadgets at least in the manufacturing sector, health centres, offices and some homes. For about a week now since the load shedding announcement, heads have been rolling as managements in both the public and private sector discussed contingent measures to cope with the situation and ensure normal operations. They include repairs and servicing of stand-by generators. The resulting massive power rationing will affect industrial production and slow down productivity in most working places. The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) is scheduled to meet on Saturday to discuss the crisis, among other issues. Meanwhile, most Dar es Salaam residents interviewed by the Daily News on Thursday, have expressed concern over the lengthy load shedding, saying it will impact adversely on their daily lives. A survey conducted in Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke municipalities established that many people are worried by the situation with most business people, particularly those who own restaurants, shops, supermarkets and barber shops bracing for a week of bad business and financial losses. A resident of Mburahati, Mr Revocatus Rugalabamu, said his restaurant would suffer a great deal from the power rationing. Prolonged power shedding is very costly in financial terms to both business and ordinary people. The best thing Tanesco could have done was to take precautionary measures to avoid this marathon shedding, said one Ubungo businessman, Mathias Masawe. Barber shop and butchery owners interviewed complained that the power rationing will very much affect their business. How can you sell meat without having a functioning refrigerator, queried a meat trader at Mwenge, Mr Edo Samsoni. We have only one small generator that we shall be using during the crisis, but it is not powerful enough. Im quite sure that we shall lose many customers as a result of this power shedding," claimed a barber at Millennium Barber Shop at Mwenge area, Mr Iddi Chatta. Others blamed the problem to what they perceived as sheer incompetence and negligence by some Tanesco officials and other relevant authorities. We are tired of experiencing unrelenting power rationing over the years. It seems that no one cares about this at all the problem is impacting negatively on individuals and the national economy at large, claimed one resident. In a somewhat startling finding, the survey established that a significant number of people were not even aware of the pending load shedding. They said it was the first time they were hearing about the load shedding. In another development, Ms Masoud has said that water level at the Mtera power generation dam has remained low at 691.18 metres, adding that the situation was alarming. The maximum level is 698.5 metres when it comes to power generation. Thus the deficit of seven metres is a big thing and its impacts are immense too. This is a bad sign as meteorological information have it that the rain season is about to end, she said. Ms Masoud pointed out that to overcome the challenge; the company was now looking for alternative sources of energy, such as gas, to reduce over dependency on hydro power.