The Tanzania Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) is reportedly considering granting an exemption to the Artumas Group & Partners that would effectively eliminate the need to acquire the trading licence that is typically required for the generation and transmission of electricity in Mtwara and Lindi regions.
The Artumas Group first began generating electricity in the Mtwara region at the end of 2006 and has been generating electricity in both Mtwara and Lindi through the use of a provisional license since 2007.
The period for the provisional license is set to expire this June, before which time, the group is hoping to acquire a permanent license.
The permanent license, which has been denied by the EWURA since 2008, would allow the group to transmit electricity rather than sell it to the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).
Inhabitants and authorities of the Mtwara region have blamed the EWURA for the delay in issuing the permits, however, Titus Kaguo, the Senior Communications and Public Relations Officer for the EWURA, has said that the Autority is unable to grant the Artumas Group a licence because the move is not in line with the Electricity Act of 2008.
Mr. Kaguo went on to explain that, according the Tanzania Electricity Act 2008, any company that applied for a license prior to the date when the Act became effective and which also entered into other agreements either with Tanesco or with the government, was not entitled to acquire another license from Ewura before a period of five years.
In December 2008, the Artumas Group entered into agreement with Tanesco and, in April 2009, the new electricity law became effective, thus making the company ineligible for a permanent license.
Based on this information, Mr. Kaguo has said that the only available option is to make the Artumas Group exempt from licenses.
“The only option advailable for Ewura is to grant licence exemption with conditions that will ensure Artumas entities’ services are regulated as per present laws,” said the EWURA officer.
EWURA recently held a public enquiry for tariff methodology in order to verify that the Artumas Group effectively meets this requirement.
Currently the electricity company has connected 16,000 people in the two regions, but reports have indicated that, in spite of the fact that many people in the region cannot afford electricity, the Artumas Group is currently working on plans to serve more people.