Citizen Monitoring puts Tanesco in hot seat over power outages

The Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) has been scrambling to explain why there have been more frequent power outages, and for longer periods of time, after the release of a World Bank/Twaweza report on the decreasing reliability of Dar es Salaam’s power infrastructure made waves in Tanzania’s media. The Dar es Salaam Mobile Phone Public Services Monitoring Project released results from its ninth round, revealing that 51.5% of respondents said they experienced power cuts on four or more days in the previous week. In 2010 32.1% of respondents reported the same. On top of that, 40.6% of respondents said that outages lasted more than six hours, compared to 25.5% in 2010.

Following the release of the report, Tanesco has been left trying to explain the increase in power outages again and again. On 19 March, Tanzania’s Guardian newspaper reported Tanesco saying that power outages were caused by old infrastructure. On 27 March the same newspaper reported that 100 megawatts had been withdrawn from the national grid due to non-payment. And on 2 April, All Africa stated that Tanesco was asking for $815 million US to overhaul its current infrastruture.

This demonstrates the power of citizen monitoring to stimulate public debate and pressure on the authorities to act.

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