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Some FAQ about the Electricity Sector in Tanzania

What is Songas?

Songas generates clean, reliable, cost effective electricity using Tanzanian natural gas. The gas provides a clean, reliable alternative source of energy in a country that has been heavily dependent on the region’s water supplies and importation of expensive heavy fuel oil for power generation.

What happens to the gas collected at the Songo Songo Island?

The gas flows into a 225 kilometers pipeline to Songas’s Ubungo power plant in Dar es Salaam where it drives six turbines that generate electricity. This electricity is fed into the national electricity grid where it is distributed by TANESCO.

How much gas is there and how much electricity does Songas generates?

The gas fields around Songo Songo Island are medium-sized by international standards, with reserves that will last for at least 20 years. At present, Songas is running at full capacity and generates 180 megawatts (MW) of power. This is approximately 30%of Tanzania’s electricity needs.

What other types of electricity generation are used in Tanzania?

Electricity is also generated in Tanzania through hydroelectric power using water collected in Tanzania’s six main dams and liquid heavy fuel oil which is expensive and contains many pollutants.

Is Tanzania producing enough electricity to meet its need?

Currently the demand for electricity is about 780 MW and is expected to be increased to approximately 900 MW by the end of 2009.

What makes up the cost of electricity?

The cost of electricity consists of a number of elements including the cost of repaying loans for construction of power stations and the distribution network, the cost of buying fuel and the cost of running and maintaining the system (including both power stations and the network).

Isn’t Songas expensive?

No. With a generation cost of about TShs 65 (5.5 US cents) per unit, Songas is the cheapest thermal power generation available in East Africa. This price covers all aspects of the project from Processing, Gas Transportation and Generation and compares favorably to the real costs of TANESCO’a own hydroelectric generation stations.

The tariffs charged by Songas include repayment of loans and capital invested during construction of the processing plant, pipeline and power station as well as its operating costs. Songas also has to buy its fuel from the state-owned petroleum company, TPDC and Pan African Energy)

How does Tanzania’s electricity price compare to other countries?

The price for electricity in Tanzania is much lower than in neighboring Kenya and Uganda. This is partly due to the availability of cheap electricity from Songas. Without Songas and other recently commissioned gas-fired stations, the government would be forced to spend significant amounts of money on expensive oil-fired generation.

By utilizing the country’s own natural gas resources, the Songas facility has substantially reduced operating costs for TANESCO and other industries in Tanzania. Over USD1.8 billion has been saved since commercial operations commenced in 2004.

Key facts

Generating clean, reliable and cost effective electricity

Producing 180MW of power or approximately 30% of Tanzania’s electricity needs

Project investment of USD 320million

Long term partnership with Government of Tanzania, TANESCO, TPDC, Globeleq, FMO and TDFL

Providing more than 100 job opportunities