‘Mtera Dam being fixed to improve power supply’

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THE Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) has embarked on a major rehabilitation of its Mtera hydropower plant in a bid to improve its power generation capacity.

Mr John Skauki, the plant Manager, told the Energy Deputy Minister, Ms Subira Mgalu, here this week, that the state power utility firm was rehabilitating its machines. “The power-generation machines are in good condition, but they are undergoing rehabilitation at the climax of 28 years of service,” he elaborated.

The plant manager did not explain when the exercise started as well as its timeframe, but stressed that the goal was to ensure effective service provision to customers. Hydro-power plants in Tanzania are grappling with challenges stemming from the impact of climate change and increased human activities in the vicinity of water sources.

In 2015, the government announced that it would switch off all its hydro-power plants, prompting a drop in electricity generation by 80 per cent. But Mr Skauki explained that last year was a good year, recording the highest water level at 697.4m above sea level.

Technically, the highest water level for the dam is 698.5m and the lowest point is 690m above sea level. Mtera dam is fed by Ruaha Mkuu, Ruaha Mdogo and Kisigo rivers. “We need to increase efforts to sustain the water sources for the benefit of the dam that supply light and other sources of livelihood to the communities around it,” he said.

Early this month, the water level was marked at 691.04m above sea level. Deputy Minister Ms Mgalu directed Tanesco to notify the public on any planned maintenance that disrupted power supply. “Your clients must be told, to clear suspicions that the blackouts represent behind-the-scenes power rationing,” she said.

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