Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 27 June 2011 – Tanzania’s state-run power company has announced that it is introducing daily 12-hour power cuts for an unspecified period because of low water levels at hydropower dams, and a shortage of fuel for thermal power generation.
The country has been plagued by frequent power-outages since December.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2011 growth forecast for Tanzania to 6% from 7.2% in March, saying frequent power outages would hurt output while food and fuel prices could push inflation higher.
The latest round of power cuts caused by a national shortfall of 200MW comes after a deficit of natural gas supply in May led to rolling 16-hour power blackouts.
“The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) regrets to inform its customers that it has been forced to extend power rationing to all regions connected to the national grid, including Zanzibar,” the company said in a weekend statement seen by Reuters. The utility did not say when the power rationing would end.
TANESCO said water levels at the country’s main hydroelectric dams were almost depleted, leading to the reduction in power generation.
“By June 22, the water level at Mtera dam was only 690.88m above sea level, and the minimum level at the dam, which will allow power generation, is 690m above sea level,” said the statement.
Tanzania depends heavily on hydropower for energy and experiences frequent power shortages during dry seasons.
TANESCO said the government would import heavy fuel oil for a privately-owned power plant that currently generates just 10MW, against its installed capacity of 100MW.
Tanzania has an energy demand close to 900MW capacity, but produces less than 800 MW.
The government has floated tenders inviting independent power producers to set up emergency power plants this year to generate an additional 260 MW of power.
The country’s five-year development plan targets generation of more than 2,700MW by 2015/16.