For Tanzanians who have tested the benefits and joys of electricity-facilitated modernity, the backward march towards the dark ages is a real threat, as the latest long-stretch electricity rationing is set to worsen.
The Guardian On Sunday has reliably learnt that most hydro-electricity
generating units countrywide face closure over the next 60 days, translating into more suffering for people whose livelihood and recreation are dependent on reliable power supply. The threat is more ominous on the national scale, by way of deadly blows to the economy of one of the poorest countries in the world, resulting from factory closures or highly reduced production schedules. Disruptions in social service delivery would be similarly hurtful.
The nation’s threat of turning to near-total, or total darkness comes at a time when the country is enduring unending power rationing since December 2010, and the hours having lengthened to 12 hours during the day right and 6 hour at night.
This paper has been reliably informed that water level at Mtera dam, the biggest man-made lake in the country has terribly decreased to the extent that the two power generating units at the dam could only generate 8 Megawatts, equals to 10 percent of the installed capacity.
A more worrying fact is that Mtera dam is not only an important for power generation at its units but is a water reservoir for Kidatu’s 4 power
generation units which are currently generation less than 50 megawatts
despite having a capacity to generate 204 megawatts. Water is released from Mtera to Kidatu during dry season or whenever the need arises. The two power generation centers lie on the grate Ruaha River stream.
A well placed source at Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) told The Guardian on Sunday this week Mtera could be shut down completely in the next 40 days and the same fate would befall Kidatu a few weeks later. “The situation is extremely bad and we do not know what would be happening in the near future because no water is added to the dams,” said the source, which preferred to remain anonymous.
And with no rains in sight over the next three months, and thus no additional water being fed into the dams, while the generating units continue to operate and consume the little available water, it is clear that the amount generated would be decreasing daily.
Last week this paper quoted a senior Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) official as saying that no rains are forecast in the next three months,until the onset of the rainy season in October.
Pray for all of us here.