US firms win tender for power lines extension to four regions

Monday October 4 2010

By Mike Mande

Two US-based energy firms have secured $65 million for the construction of a power transmission line to four regions of Tanzania.

Pike Electric Corporation and Syimbion Power LLC will construct and expand approximately 2,880km of distribution lines to Mwanza, Tanga, Dodoma, Mbeya and Iringa regions of the country and expects to complete construction in two years time.

The two firms were already working collaboratively on a three separate projects in Tanzania valued at nearly $19 million.

Collectively, the companies have been awarded nearly $84 million in distribution powerline projects including engineering, material procurement and construction.

In recent history, American construction companies have been noticeable by their absence in Africa, and the landscape has been dominated by firms from China.
Pike and Symbion, as well as other American companies, intend to change things and are expected to be a fixture in Tanzania and East African countries for many years to come.

Eric Pike, chairman and chief executive officer of Pike Electric Corporation told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam last week that the firm will be part of the electric infrastructure build out in Tanzania.

Mr Pike said that the energy firm will employ and train Tanzanians in modern construction techniques to provide reliable power throughout this great country.

The construction of these projects will begin in early next year. The project will take approximately two years to complete.

Paul Hinks, the chief executive of Symbion said that this will be their fourth contract awarded in Tanzania this year and is the second under the Millennium Challenge Account-Tanzania.

Mr Hinks said that Millennium Challenge has entrusted Symbion with almost $100 million of electrification work across the country, funded by the American people.

“Other components of the Energy Projects include the manufacture and installation of a new 100 megawatt submarine power cable linking Zanzibar to Mainland Tanzania,” he said.

Symbion Power and the French firm Areva have also been awarded a $45 million contract for the substation work in Zanzibar. That contract was awarded in April 2010, and the fabrication process is already well underway.

Bernard Mchomvu, the chief executive of Millennium Challenge said the contract awards represent the achievement of yet another important milestone in the ongoing implementation of the $206 million MCC Energy Project.
Mr Mchomvu said that another key component of the MCC Compact is the construction or rehabilitation of 25 power substations on Tanzania Mainland and in Unguja.

In addition to the Energy Project, the MCC Compact also includes major components that will provide significant assistance in the transport and water sectors.