Tanzania government says power rationing to end next month

What you need to know:

  • Drought and maintenance issues caused shortages in the national grid, forcing Tanzania to ration electricity since last September.
  • The government assured the public that current power rationing will end next month

Dar es Salaam. The government on Friday February 16, 2024 assured the public that the current power rationing will end next month as two power plants are expected to start producing electricity from Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHP).

Drought and maintenance issues caused shortages in the national grid, forcing Tanzania to ration electricity since last September.

Responding to a question in Parliament, deputy Minister for Energy, Ms Judith Kapinga told the Parliament that the rationing will end by March this year.

“I can assure you that by March of this year, power rationing will be over,” she said after the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Tulia Ackson asked when exactly the power rationing will end in the country.

“I would like to inform the parliament that we successfully tested plant number nine that produces 235 megawatts,” she said, adding that plant number eight will start generating other 235 megawatts next month.

Deputy Minister for Energy, Ms Judith Kapinga adresses Parliament on February 16, 2024

Ms Kapinga added that experts are currently continuing with the final steps towards production stage.

“The schedule for turning on these plants was to be done in June this year but with the efforts of the government and contractors, we have pushed that to start this February," she said, adding that the additional 470 megawatts will end the power rationing in the country.

Dr Ackson asked the Members of Parliament to give the government time until June so that they could question it about the rationing.

“I know we will meet here in April for the Budget sessions,” she said, congratulating the government for the effort to end power challenges.

As the government scrambles to restore reliable electricity, the fate of countless entrepreneurs hangs precariously.

A survey by The Citizen revealed the devastating impact of power outages and rationing on small businesses, their lifeline flickering with each blackout.

From bakers to welders, the struggle is palpable, echoing the sentiments of countless entrepreneurs whose daily operations hinge on reliable access to electricity.

“Since the power rationing started last year, I’ve suffered losses of upwards of six million as my fish spoil without refrigeration,” said a fish trader from Tabata Segerea in Dar es Salaam, Mr Juma Mbwana this week.

Despite investing in a generator, the costs of fuel eat into his profits, leaving him at a loss. “I’m being forced to consider giving up on my business,” he added, pleading for the government’s intervention.

Empty promises?

Reacting to the government promise of ending electricity rationing next month, some Dar es Salaam residents are still in doubt of the assurance being fulfilled.

“It’s a good news but I doubt if it will be fulfilled,” said a bar owner at Tabata area, Mr Akwilini Shayo.

“Electricity is crucial for business profitability. There are instances when I couldn't sell alcohol because customers needed cold drinks and I couldn't provide them due to power outages,” he said.

He said the series of promises made by the government bring hope for the best and he is now eagerly awaiting for the March promise.

“Power rationing is putting our businesses in trouble for sure,” he said.

A fish vendor at Mbezi Luis, Ms Sheila Msangi expressed frustration with the unpredictability of the electricity supply, saying that it significantly disrupts their business operations.

“Let’s wait and see then we will judge the government on their promise,” she said.

She said many businessmen are going through difficult times because electricity has been rationed for a long time, recounting noises of generators in her area.

University of Dodoma (Udom) assistant lecturer, Mr Justine Kajerero said that amidst numerous promises, patience is needed regarding the electricity projects which have faced multiple delays.

He noted that the timetable for activating the plants is clear but the political statement is also taking the place of implementation.

“It's challenging to elaborate because with the ongoing rains, there seems to be no justification for power rationing. Let's wait for the government promise,” he said.