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Govt, IPTL ready for power talks

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by BAK, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Oct 20, 2009
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    • Aim is for IPTL to generate much-needed electricity, with case pending in court
    By Zuwena Shame
    20th October 2009


    Energy and Minerals minister William Ngeleja

    The government and Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) were yesterday set to embark on serious talks on how electricity generated by the company’s Tegeta plant in suburban Dar es Salaam could be fed into the national grid and ease the acute shortage the country is experiencing.

    Energy and Minerals minister William Ngeleja said in the city yesterday that officials representing the government and the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) were to meet IPTL representatives later in the day to see how to get the talks going.

    “This evening we’re to meet IPTL representatives to explore the possibility of the company starting to generate power for the national grid even as our case with them (IPTL) lies pending in court. However, the talks we intend to hold are not meant to disrupt the case which is already in court,” he explained.

    The minister said the move sought to relieve the country of the crippling consequences of the ongoing countrywide power shedding, which he blamed on the failure by the country’s giant hydro-power plants to generate enough power following mechanical breakdowns and long spells of drought.

    However, he would not say how long the negotiations would take or how long the power rationing would continue.

    The minister said he was putting a lot of trust in the planned tripartite talks between his ministry, Tanesco and IPTL, adding: “I cannot say exactly when the power rationing will end because we are in the process of repairing the Kihansi hydro-electric power machines…I cannot therefore predict when the machines will be ready to generate enough power again.”

    He admitted that the government did not have sufficient resources to invest more in the energy sector, but insisted that the government had “completely no interest in seizing or buying IPTL plants”.

    An upbeat Ngeleja was quick to add that the current power shedding was not a big challenge to the country “as such because have been witnessed and weathered much bigger storms with wider implications than this”.

    Meanwhile, electricity engineers and energy experts have said political intrusion in technical issues such as the ongoing power shedding has made a serious problem much more complex.

    They made the remarks when speaking at a Joint Energy Sector Review Workshop in the city yesterday attended by Tanzanian and foreign energy stakeholders.

    Cyril Batalia, an energy and transport consultant with UK-based firm Energy for Sustainable Development Organisation, said power generation should not be mixed with politics “and its production must consider policies and not individuals’ political interests or capacities”.

    He said that, while efforts had been made to ease or end power shedding in the country, most of the authorities concerned were being driven by the political interests and whims of decision makers.

    The consultant cited the issue of whether IPTL should be allowed to generate power while there was a case pending in court in which it was fully and directly involved.

    He added that there was an urgent need to privatise Tanesco and encourage more private players to invest in the energy and power sector.

    “We know using the IPTL machines could cost Tanesco a hefty amount of money. To avoid this, we can also consider and learn new practices by seeing how other countries are managing and developing their power sector,” he noted.

    In his contribution, G and S Media consultancy’s Gideon Shoo called for President Jakaya Kikwete’s intervention to bring the IPTL case to an end and allow the firm’s plant to generate power.

    “Things are getting more crucial and urgent because the economy of the country will be grossly affected by the power blues,” he said.

    Prof Geoffrey John, an energy expert with the University of Dar es Salaam, expressed disappointment over the performance of the country’s energy sector – which he described as “far from convincing”.
    He heaped part of the blame on the failure by the government to improve rural electrification and called for a massive overhaul of the energy sector.

    Several other experts at the workshop also appealed to President Kikwete to use his powers to make it possible for the IPTL plant to operate as a way of easing the acute power shortage that is threatening to strangle the national economy and disrupt the people’s lives.

    In the case pending in court, IPTL is demanding $27,169,882.67 as compensation from the government for the latter’s failure to pay capacity charges to the firm in alleged breach of a power purchase agreement signed by both parties in 1995.

    In 1996 the government contracted IPTL, a joint venture between Malaysia’s Mechmar Corporation and Tanzania’s VIP Engineering and Marketing Ltd, to generate emergency power.

    The firm was required to put up a 100-megawatt plant as an independent power producer for 20 years under a contract stipulating that the government would pay a monthly 3bn/- in capacity charges.

  2. M

    Mkandara Verified User

    Oct 21, 2009
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    At the end, the weak will always bow down, damning us all!