connectivity project
Complaints about the affordability of electricity in Tanzania seem to be taking centre stage.

Last week a Parliamentary member asked for the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), to reduce the service line charged for power connections.

According to the Tanzania Daily News, Daniel Mtuka, the Manyoni East legislator, said the cost charged by the company was not feasible for the citizens both in rural and urban areas compared to the cost charged by the Rural Energy Agency (REA) for the same service.

“Most Tanzanians still need electricity, but they have been disappointed due to the high charges of service line,” Mtuka said.

Media reported that Mtuka said Tanesco charges are Tsh177,000 ($79) while REA charge Tsh27,000 ($12) for the same service.

“Is it not a high time for the government to lower the charges from $12?” he asked. In addition, he noted that clients also face a burden in power connection as a single pole costs 337,740 ($151).

“These poles are property of Tanesco, why is this burden not taken by the government?” Mtuka asked.

Electricity infrastructure

Responding to the queries, deputy minister for energy and minerals, Dr Medard Kalemani, said the national power utility incurs the cost for developing infrastructure, including the cost of poles and other equipment to supply power to its clients.

According to media the minister said due to budget constraints it was not easy for the firm to distribute power to all areas of the country.

The 2011 Electricity Act provides for customers putting up infrastructure to get an agreement with Tanesco on how they would be refunded for their costs, media reported.

Dr Kalemani said: “In areas where there is infrastructure, people only pay for poles and other equipment as charges to get power connection.”

“The government finances REA projects by 100%. The Tsh27,000 ($12) charge is a value-added tax being imposed to encourage and enable people in rural areas with limited means to get power,” he explained.

It is reported that Kalemani said after the REA project, new clients are connected with electricity under Tanesco’s guidelines, which require them to pay $79 to a distance that does not need a pole.

He further explained that the cost covers a cable and electric metre. The cost for connecting electricity to customers who do not need a cable is Tsh320,960 ($144).