The four main conclusions from this evaluation were in summary:

  • The rural people appreciate electrification.
  • Rural electrification is a large financial burden on TANESCO.
  • The quality of the service, in particular the supply reliability, is low in rural areas.
  • Many of the perceived benefits of rural electrification, like the creation of small scale industries or reduced use of fuel wood for cooking, have not materialised to a significant degree.

As a result of this evaluation it was recommended to try a new approach to rural electrification in Tanzania, based on local management of supply and distribution and with TANESCO’s role limited to bulk supply of electricity and technical support. TANESCO agreed to carry out a few pilot projects to collect experiences from this approach as part of the research co-operation between TANESCO and SEI.

The attempts to introduce locally managed electricity supply in Tanzania have generally been received very well. There has been a large interest at all the sites that were visited, even when it has been made clear that the tariffs would be significantly higher than those charged by TANESCO. The first pilot project, in Urambo, has been in operation for more than three years. In Mbinga, the second pilot site, the electrification cooperative was registered in August 1996. Operation started in April 1997. Electrification cooperatives are under formation in Kasulu and Kibondo, Kigoma region.