From ALVAR MWAKYUSA in Kibiti, 14th January 2011 @ 12:00, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 115 RESIDENTS of Bungu, Kibiti, Utete and other surrounding villages in Rujifi district, Coast Region want the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) to consider lowering power connection charges, saying they are exorbitant for ordinary Tanzanians. The villagers made their comments in separate meetings with the Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, Mr Adam Malima who is currently visiting the region to inspect rural electrification projects. Most of us are peasants with meagre incomes, and we are unable to part with the connection charge of 456,000/- required by Tanesco, remarked one elder of Bungu ward. Their pleas were prompted by TANESCO Regional Manager, Eng Lucas Busunge, who had earlier said that the residents had no option but to cough up the amount if they were to be connected. According to Eng Busunge, before, the residents were supposed to pay a mere 75,000/- under the Wayleave Village Electrification Scheme. Under the arrangement, the government subsidized electricity connection charges to enable villagers along the Songosongo Gas Pipeline to have access to power. Villagers were required to register for the scheme but few turned up, and materials such as poles, cables and transformers are about to get finished residents who want to be connected at this time will have to pay the normal connection charges, he said. Residents in the area have had no access to the national power grid since independence, but thanks to Somanga Gas Plant at Somanga Fungu area which has a capacity of 8 mega watt (MW), they will be able to enjoy off-grid power. The $7m facility which was constructed under a loan from the World Bank is expected to supply power to areas such Kilwa Masoko in Lindi region as well as Kibiti, Utete and Bungu in the Coast region. Addressing the residents in the area, Deputy Minister Malima pledged to discuss with TANESCO on best modalities in which the villagers will be enabled to get power at affordable charges. Electricity is a driver to the economy, and we will work hard to ensure that residents here get access to power at affordable connection costs power demand in these areas is just below 2MW against the 8MW capacity at Somanga Gas Plant, declared the deputy minister. On his part, Kibiti Member of Parliament, Mr Abdul Jabir Marombwa said currently only three out of 63 villages in the Bungu ward have electricity. The major problem we face at the moment is distribution of power in other areas, said the legislator. The Wayleave Village Electrification Scheme is an initiative which was meant to supply power to residents as a motivation for their areas being producers of gas and transportation line to the Songas Power Plant in Dar es Salaam.