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Tanzanian, Kenyan officials discuss power interconnector plan

Jul 26, 2005 -- Xinhua

Detail discussions are underway on the project of selling electricity to Kenya to relieve the neighboring country's power crisis, said Tanzanian energy officials on Tuesday.

Senior officials from Kenya in the power sector has started a three-day meeting in Tanzania since Monday with their Tanzanian counterparts to chart out the final scope of the transmission lines and sub-stations for the Arusha-Nairobi inter-connector project.

The multi-million US dollar plan is expected to erect a 360-km transmission line of 220 kilovolts from Arusha, northern Tanzania, to the Kenyan capital Nairobi, local newspaper Daily News reported on Tuesday, citing Patrik Rutabanzibwa, the permanent secretary of the Tanzanian Energy and Mineral Ministry.

Rutabanzibwa was quoted as saying that some of the townships would benefit from the project are Ibisil, Kajiado, Isinya and Kitengule on the Kenyan side of border and Oldonyo Sambu, Longido and Namanga in Tanzania.

The Kenyan government earlier made a request to the Tanzanian side to purchase power due to the undergoing electricity shortage and last April, when the two parties met in Nairobi, Tanzania agreed to sell 200 megawatts to Kenya when the project completed.

The Tanzanian government boasts ample power-generating sources but so far, about 90 percent of its rural people and 30 percent of its urban residents in the east African country have not access to reliable and affordable electricity yet.

Experts said having an oversea market would help Tanzania's power supplier ease the burden of a fixed capacity charge of over 8 million US dollars being paid to the country's power producers monthly.

They said the project of interconnecting Tanzania with neighboring countries would eventually lower the generation, distribution, and transmission costs per unit.

According to the Tanzanian Energy and Mineral Ministry, under the South African Pool project for connecting various countries of Southern Africa Development Community, which had been designed to generate 8,544 megawatts from various sources of electricity by the year 2010, there was a plan to interconnect Tanzania with Kenya and Zambia on power supply.