Dar es Salaam. Tanzania still lags behind its grid electricity connection targets, despite government’s deliberate initiatives to reach more people, a new report shows.
The connectivity of power supplied by the Tanzania Electricity Company (Tanesco) increased from 18 per cent in 2011/12 to 29 per cent in 2017/18, according to the latest Household Budget Survey released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). However, the increase has not matched the government’s ambitions.
The government planned to increase connection levels to 30 per cent by 2015, 50 per cent by 2025 and at least 75 per cent by 2033, according to the Electricity Supply Industry Reform Strategy and Roadmap for 2014 – 2025.
The current level of access varies between rural and urban areas, and from one region to another. Dar es Salaam is reported to have the largest percentage (79.9 per cent of households) followed by Kilimanjaro at 44.9 per cent.
Singida has the smallest connection with just 7.5 per cent of the households connected to electricity.
Rural areas are still far behind in power connectivity with 10.4 per cent of the households being connected. It had increased from a mere 3.8 per cent in 2011/12.
Rural electrification projects are pushing up connectivity with government saying it has covered thousands of villages. The projects which are implemented through the Rural Energy Agency (REA) are now in the third phase of implementation.
Energy minister Medard Kalemani said in the ministry’s budget speech for 2019/20 that the government already connected 7,127 villages in Tanzania Mainland by May 2019.
He also said the government’s intention was to connect a total of 10,278 villages by June 2020 when the implementation of the first round of the third phase ends. That will be almost 84 per cent of the (12,268) villages in Tanzania mainland.
The survey indicates that 63.2 per cent of households in urban areas are connected to electricity with Dar es Salaam topping the list of the regions. While 29 per cent of households use electricity as their main source of lighting, the rest use alternative sources.These include rechargeable lamp (27.5 per cent), solar power (26.5 per cent) and kerosene (wick lamps) (7.0 per cent).
The main source of energy for cooking in the Mainland is firewood (60.9 per cent) followed by charcoal (28.8 per cent), industrial gas (3.2 per cent), electricity (2.1 per cent), paraffin (1.3 per cent) and solar (1.1 per cent).
The use of firewood is more common in rural areas at 84.8 per cent of households compared with the 17.4 per cent of the urban areas. Kagera Region has the largest percentage of households using firewood as a source of energy for cooking at 87.5 per cent, while Dar es Salaam has the smallest at 5.9 per cent.
Tanzania’s Development Vision aims at earning the country a middle income status by 2025 with the income per capita of at least $3,000. The roadmap also requires increasing power generation to at least 10,000 megawatts by 2025.
Currently, the installed capacity is 1,601.9 megawatts. The government is now implementing the $3.6 billion Stiegler’s hydroelectric project, which will produce 2,100 megawatts from River Rufiji.