Symbion Power Seeks to Expand Capacity in Tanzania, CEO Says

Symbion Power LLC, owner of a 120-megawatt power plant in Tanzania, is interested in expanding capacity in the East African nation and may make further acquisitions there, Chief Executive Officer Paul Hinks said.

The company, based in Washington D.C., is in talks with the Tanzania Electric Supply Co. about boosting output and any increase “will depend on Tanesco wanting us to produce more,” Hicks told reporters yesterday in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital. “We also hope to make some more acquisitions, but there is nothing in the pipeline.”

Symbion purchased the gas-fired Dowans Power plant in Tanzania last month. The acquisition is one of the measures that the Tanzanian government expects to help close a 260-megawatt power deficit in East Africa’s second-biggest economy, Energy and Mineral Minister William Ngeleja told reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Last week, the Planning Commission in the Tanzanian presidency published a five-year development plan that proposes spending 4.7 trillion shillings ($2.96 billion) to increase electricity output to 2,780 megawatts by 2015 from 1,000 megawatts currently.

The Tanzanian government also has $206 million available from a U.S. grant program to improve electricity distribution in the country, according to the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania. Symbion Power and Pike Electric Corp., based in Mount Airy, North Carolina, won contracts of $110 million and $18 million respectively from the Millennium Challenge Account to build substations and extend electricity distribution in Tanzania, the embassy said on its website.

Symbion Power said last week it signed an interim agreement with Tanesco to sell power to the state-owned utility. The company charges a rate of $4.99 per kilowatt hour, it said.

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