Vice President Dr Ali Mohammed Shein addresses the 28th Southern African Power Pool Executive Conference in Dar yesterday. With him (from-R) are Energy and Minerals minister William Ngeleja and Tanesco acting managing director Stephen Mabada. The government is mobilising about USD 18 billion to implement the countrys Power System Master Plan (PSMP) to curb chronic power rationing, Minister for Energy and Minerals William Ngeleja said yesterday. In a keynote address in Dar es Salaam during the 28th Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) Executive Committee Meeting at which the Vice President Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, was the chief guest, the minister said the national power infrastructure has suffered from prolonged underinvestment, resulting into capacity and energy deficits. The power rationing of 2006 was instrumental in drawing a government funded emergency plan whose objective was short term generation to meet the demand in the national grid estimated to grow at an average rate of 12 percent per annum and to lessen dependence on hydro electricity by optimising thermal mix in the grid system said Ngeleja. The minister was speaking hardly after the giant power utility, Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO) announced a nationwide power rationing from 6pm to 10pm. He said the government is committed to increase private sector participation in the development of the sector. He said the Rural Energy Act of 2005 spearheading the furtherance of rural electrification, the Electricity Act of 2008 supporting the implementation of the sector policy and the soon to be approved Power Sector Reform Strategy will enhance wider participation of the private sector. According to the minister, Tanzania is eager to see the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya power interconnector project materialising in order to benefit from power exchange. He said the support of all operating member states within SAPP was critical to help successful implementation of the project. But Kigoma North Member of Parliament Zitto Kabwe in a telephone interview yesterday questioned the political will to implement PSMP. The Power System Master Plan is a good piece, but the problem lies with the implementation said Kabwe. He said despite doubling of the economy to 28 trillion/-, the nation faces a shortfall of 309 MW of power, adding that Dar es Salaam alone has a deficit of 200MW. It is increasingly being realised that energy infrastructure development plays a catalytic role in socio-economic advance of every nation. The departure for African countries from economic poverty to long term sustainable growth is predicated on sufficient, reliable and affordable energy supply. Southern Power Pool was established in August, 1995 at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in South Africa during which member states (Excluding Mauritius) agreed to supply through coordination, reliable and economic electricity to its members. Meanwhile, Dr Shein called on SADC member countries to ensure that its people have equitable access to electricity at affordable prices, so as to improve their standard of living. In some countries the access to electricity has hardly crossed double digits said Dr Shein. He said while the principle of affordable and competitive electricity prices have been recognized, there is need for SADC member countries to embrace the principle of cost reflective tariffs in the region. The VP said that, there is need for adopting regulatory and institutional framework in respective countries which will enhance much needed investment in the electricity sector. Southern African countries he added have a potential of generating more than 100,000 MW through the use of hydro, thermal, gas and coal sources. The power demand in the SADC region is approximately 55,000MW, while actual production amounts to 48,649MW according to Dr. Shein. The Vice President said he was pleased with the formation of Day Ahead Market (DAM) whereby electricity is traded to meet the shortfall in generation within SAPP member countries. Earlier, Vice chairman of SAPP executive committee Pius Gumbi said the meeting would touch key issues such as interconnection, security and reliability of power through reduced supply costs. He said he believed the region will have enough power for the World Cup scheduled for June 2010 in South Africa. SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN My comments: Is TANESCO collecting consumers money or it gives power for free? Where is the revenue collected banked or used for?