The organisation responsible for electricity generation, transmission and distribution in Tanzania is the Tanzania Electric Supply Company, known as TANESCO. The company is 100 % government owned and is responsible for 98 % of the country’s electricity supply.

Two thirds, or 381 MW, of Tanzania’s installed capacity is hydro powered. The hydro stations are located on the Pangani and Great Ruaha rivers. The Rufiji Basin Development Authority is presently studying the hydro potential on the river Rufiji.

It is reported that Tanzania has an estimated 3 800 MW of economic hydro potential capacity. The 66 MW Pangani hydro redevelopment project was scheduled for commission in April 1995.

The country has an interconnected transmission network that covers a significant proportion of the country. Those areas not covered are served by isolated diesel units.

There is a 132 kV submarine link to the island of Zanzibar. The Zanzibar State Fuel & Power Corporation purchases electricity in bulk from TANESCO via this link.

Less than 10 % of Tanzania’s population have access to electricity with average per capita power consumption at 0.023 MW. The vast majority (92 %) of total energy consumption is from firewood. Electricity and coal contribute less than a percent. Tanzania possesses large reserves of water, coal and natural gas and thus has the capacity for significant expansion of the power industry.

Droughts over the East African region have had severe effects on the electrical power supply. Blackouts and power rationing as a result of low water levels in the hydro dams have forced Tanesco to rely on gas-powered generators and to look increasingly at thermal projects for future capacity increases.

Tanzania has planned a program to increase its electricity generation capacity by about 1,800 MW from several sources. The program features the Tegeta IPTL power plant, which will generate 100 MW; the Ubungo combustion turbine, generating 40 MW by 2003; the Ruhudji hydro, which will generate 358 MW by 2012; the Rumakali hydro, which will generate 222 MW by 2018 and the combustion turbine-gas at Kinyerezi which will generate 820 MW by 2005.

A 148 MW private power project is being developed. The project involves the purchase of an existing 37 MW thermal facility, which will be converted to a gas fired plant. A new 60 MW gas fired facility will also be constructed. The project is being developed by two Canadian companies (TransCanada Pipelines and Oscelot Energy).

A 100 MW turbine powered power station will be built on the Tegeta site at Dar es Salaam. The US$100 million contract was won by Wartsila in 1998.

The 232 km natural gas pipeline from Songo-Songo to Dar-es-Salaam was due to start in 1999. Two Canadian firms, Ocelot Canada and Trans-Canada Pipelines, are undertaking the project. A company called Songas has been established to own and operate the pipeline and related facilities, including a natural gas collection centre on Songo Songo Island, the pipeline itself and the 113 MW Ubungo power plant in Dar-es-Salaam. Construction of a factory to purify the gas began in early 2001 and is scheduled to take two years to complete.

The total project cost is estimated to be US$ 375 million, with funding provided by Ocelot Energy (US$ 50 million), TransCanada Pipelines (US$ 50 million), The World Bank (US$ 200 million), the European Investment Bank (US$ 37 million), the Commonwealth and a local project finance company.

In mid-2001, PanAfrican Energy (PAE) Mauritius sold its stake in the Songas project to AES Corporation of the United States for US$ 22 million. PAE Mauritius has held onto its interest in the Songo-Songo gas field.

The construction of a line serving the north-east of Tanzania, to be built jointly by the Uganda Electricity Board and Tanesco, will increase the Ugandan government’s export of electricity to Tanzania.

The World Bank has granted US$2,0 million to the island of Zanzibar for the installation of pre-paid electricity meters. A South African power company will facilitate the installation of the devices. Pre-paid meters have also been installed in Dar-es-Salaam and other parts of mainland Tanzania.

The Kinansi hydroelectric dam was completed in April 2000 and has a capacity of 180 MW. The 100 MW IPTL power project has been put on hold, despite backing from Malaysia. Tanzania has also employed Tornado Resources for the development of a US$ 32.5 million natural gas plant in southern Tanzania. Gas will be supplied from the 500-Bcf Mnazi gas field to the 20 MW plant.

Promoters of the Mngeta Development Programme have been seeking investment for the rehabilitation and upgrade of the local hydroelectric facility. The site of the project is located on 12500 acres of agricultural land in the foothills of the Udzungwa Mountains, some 300 kilometres from Dar-es-Salaam.

An agreement has reportedly been signed between the Tanzanian government and a consortium of foreign investors to construct a 400 megawatt coal-fueled electricity plant, which will be located at Mchuchuma, the centre of a coalfield in southern Tanzania.

Regional power sharing
Power shortages in both Kenya and Tanzania as a result of recent droughts have opened the way for the development of a power grid between the two countries and Zambia. An initial feasibility study was completed in 1998 and the Zambian and Tanzanian governments are financing a further study. Total cost of the project is thought to be US$ 150 million, which will include the laying of a 330 kV connecting line between Pensulo in Zambia and Mbeya in Tanzania as well as the installation of fibre optic telecommunication cables at the transmission towers.

Financing of the project has been partly provided by the UK government, who have agreed to put 200 000 pounds towards the cost of consultation services. The remainder of the cost is reportedly to be financed by the Private Advisory Infrastructure Facility of the World Bank. The project will give Tanzania access to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), where low-cost, reliable electricity is readily available.

Shaun Bakamoso

Greetings. I'm Shaun Bakamoso, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the dynamic world of business news in South Africa here at With a passion for staying informed and a keen interest in the ever-evolving landscape of business, I've dedicated myself to providing you with timely, insightful, and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments impacting the South African economy. / Instagram