* Drought, fuel shortage hits power generation
* Nation faces daily 12-hour electricity cuts
DAR ES SALAAM, June 25 (Reuters) - Tanzania's state-run power company
has announced 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.
East Africa's second largest economy has been plagued by frequent
power-outages since December.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2011 growth forecast for
Tanzania to 6 percent from 7.2 percent in March, saying frequent power
outages would hurt output while food and fuel prices could push
The latest round of power cuts caused by a national shortfall of 200
megawatts (MW) come 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 statement seen by Reuters on Saturday.
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 a reduction in power generation.
"By June 22, the water level at Mtera dam was only 690.88 metres above
sea level ... the minimum level at the dam, which will not allow power
generation, is 690 metres 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 will import heavy fuel oil for a privately-
owned power plant that currently generates just 10-megawatts against
its installed capacity of 100 MW.
Dollar demand from oil importers is one of the factors that helped
drive the Tanzanian shilling to a record low against the dollar this
Tanzania has energy demand close to 900 MW 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 2,700-megawatts by 2015/16.
(For more on hydrodpendency in Africa, see http://www.internationalrivers.org/en/node/5808)
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