Unexplained ‘Glitch’ on Tanzania’s Power Grid Cripples Business as TANESCO Reportedly Restores Constant Power Supply in Four Regions



By TZ Business News Staff and Agencies.


Tanzania’s electricity supply company (TANESCO) has reportedly restored constant supply of electricity in Iringa, Dodoma and Tanga regions amid on-going day long power cuts crippling business across the country.

The website energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com reported on Sunday, December 3, 2017 that TANESCO had restored electricity in the administrative capital Dodoma, Iringa region  and Tanga in the north east.  TZ Business News has not independently verified the report.

In Tukuyu, Mbeya region, HAMONA  car wash  struggles to keep customers using a 10 horsepower gasoline pressure washer. The nearly Tsh. 2,000,000/- machine was hastily purchased  when an electric pump was rendered undependable in power outages.  The nearly Tsh. 2,000,000/- expenditure was an unplanned cost.

Highland Press, also in Tukuyu opposite HAMONA car wash, is a printing press which owns a used 5KV Robin petrol generator which needs spare parts to work.  The printing press therefore relies entirely on the national power grid to operate, according to operations manager Luka Mswima. The struggling printing press came to a complete shut down during the last week of November 2017 because electricity from the national grid was cut off during working hours for virtually the whole week.

Thursday, November 30, 2017 was the worst day according to media reports,  when the entire country lost electricity supply.  TANESCO has apologised for the power outages but it has not explained what caused  the “technical glitch” in the national power grid that left the whole country in a complete blackout lasting more than 12 hours on Thursday.

Power was restored in many parts of  the commercial capital Dar es Salaam late on Thursday, November 30, 2017.

Businesses are crippled according to media reports. The Dar es Salaam based The Citizen newspaper  reports there is growing frustration among electricity consumers. The disruptions have affected most businesses in cities and towns that are connected to the national grid. .  Power outage paralysed social and economic activities with some service providers threatening to suspend operations should a quick solution not be found.

Regions affected the most include Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Morogoro, Tanga, Iringa, Mbeya, Arusha, Mwanza and Kilimanjaro, according to the Citizen.  Some traders have reported heavy losses due to the unstable electricity supply which TANESCO has blamed on technical problems without an explanation on what those technical problems are.

The Citizen reporters in Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Morogoro, Tanga, Iringa, Mbeya and Mwanza have reported frequent outages ranging from 12 hours to 18 hours in some areas the Citizen has reported.  Owner of a meat selling SME  in Kibaha, Coast Region, Mr Athanas Labia told the Citizen they were considering to suspend business for a while to avoid loses. “We have since lost 80 kilogrammes of meat that rot due to lack of power,” he said, noting that they can’t withstand another such loss.

The website energy.economictimes.indiatimes.com has reports that Tanzania‘s power utility said it had started to restore electricity to parts of the country after the East African nation was hit by a country-wide blackout. The website has used a Reuters report as source.

“Efforts are ongoing to make sure that power supply is restored to all parts of the country,” the state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) said in a statement.

Partial blackouts occur regularly in Tanzania, which relies on hydro, natural gas and heavy fuel oil to generate electricity. Many businesses use power generators as backups, pushing up their operating costs.

Tanzania’s energy infrastructure has suffered from decades of underinvestment, neglect and corruption allegations, and investors have long complained the lack of reliable power hurts business there.

President John Magufuli is pushing a major hydropower project at Stiegler’s Gorge in the UNESCO-designated Selous Game Reserve to help tackle chronic electricity shortages.

The project would more than double the country’s current power generation capacity of around 1,500 megawatts (MW). The government has not said how much the project would cost or how it would raise financing, but wants it completed within three years.

Tanzania aims to boost power generation capacity to 10,000 MW over the next decade by also using some of its vast natural gas and coal reserves.