No reprieve on new tariffs - TANESCO -Says hiked rates in force from January 1 -Zanzibar only given option to appeal THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam THE Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) has rejected pleas from the Zanzibar Government for a temporary reprieve on power tariffs increase, insisting that the 21.7 per cent hike has been in force effective from January 1 this year. TANESCO Acting Managing Director William Mhando told THISDAY yesterday that the new tariffs are applicable throughout the country with no exception, as approved by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA). We have not suspended application of the power tariff increase. Weve merely informed Zanzibar authorities that they may appeal against the hike if they wish to do so...in the meantime, the new power tariffs are in force countrywide, he said in an interview. His statement comes in the wake of suggestions by senior officials of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government that the new power tariffs would be shelved in the islands until ongoing consultations on possible repercussions of the tariff increase have been concluded. According to Mhando, the Zanzibar Government has already sent representatives to Dar es Salaam for talks with TANESCO on the power tariff increase. We held talks with a team from the Zanzibar Government and we informed them about our position on the power tariffs increase, he said. The Permanent Secretary in the Zanzibar Ministry of Water, Construction, Energy & Lands, Mwalimu Ali Mwalimu, said yesterday that the Isles Government wants TANESCO to put off the power tariff increase while consultations continue. We want power consumers in Zanzibar to pay the pre-existing power tariffs until the discussions between different stakeholders on the proposed tariffs raise reach an amicable conclusion, Mwalimu said by phone from Zanzibar. Mwalimu admitted that key officials from his ministry were summoned to State House by Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume, but denied that the issue of the power tariffs increase was discussed at the meeting. The issue of the power tariffs increase is still at ministerial level�we havent officially forwarded the matter to State House, he said. He added: The increase of power tariffs is a sensitive matter. It is not only Zanzibar that will be affected, but also the Union Government. The General Manager of the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (formerly the Zanzibar State Fuel and Power Corporation), Juma Ishaq Bakari, told THISDAY yesterday that consultations on the new power tariffs were still proceeding. Were still discussing the issue between the two governments. I cant go into the details at the moment until we have finished the discussions, said Bakari. It is understood that there is high-level concern within both the Union and Zanzibar Governments that the power tariffs hike could have serious social repercussions given already-skyrocketing costs of living. There appears to be a general consensus among some senior government officials that with rising fuel prices already driving up inflation figures, few Tanzanians will be able to afford the new rates for power connection and consumption. However, the government has been under growing pressure from both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to approve the increase of power tariffs to enable the loss-making TANESCO operate profitably instead of repeatedly relying on state subsidies. The TANESCO Managing Director, Dr Idris Rashidi, announced recently that the company was haemorrhaging money due to the fact that the operational costs far outstrip actual revenue collection from power tariffs. Subsequently, TANESCO applied for a 40 per cent tariffs hike from EWURA, which however, scaled it down to 21.7 per cent. Apart from the tariffs raise, the regulator also gave the green light for an increase in service connection fees by between 66 and 215 per cent.