Under a five year agreement signed between Afrique Live and Tanesco last week, the company will services live wires hence allowing normal flow of electricity during such an exercise thanks to advanced technology.
“We want to see clients who include industrial investors not complaining about power interruptions during servicing of electricity supply lines at this time when President John Magufuli’s government is encouraging investments in manufacturing industries as a means of graduating the economy to middle income and semi industrialised by 2025,” said Afrique Live Power Line Maintenance T and D Limited’s Managing Director, Engineer Donald Mwakamele.
Eng Mwakamele told reporters who were on a field visit to Morogoro over the past weekend that he spent some time outside the country practicing live power line servicing technology in Botswana and Zambia and is back home to serve his country. Live-line working, also known as hotline maintenance, is the maintenance of electrical equipment, often operating at high voltage, while the equipment is energised.
He said Contractors Registration Board (CRB) sent 40 female electric engineers to Afrique Live to get technical knowhow of the new technology so as to work on the planned project. “I have received 40 female engineers from CRB who want to acquire knowledge and skills of the new technology. My target is to achieve high quality and productivity through modern expertise and latest technology,” he said.
“We don’t have this technology in the country, and Tanzania will be the first country to start the using the live power line servicing technology in east and central Africa,” he added while pointing out that his firm is investing in innovative technologies that are aimed at boosting reliability of power supply by minimising interruptions.
“My company is launching today, the ‘Live line maintenance programme,’ an innovation that is targeted at reducing interruptions to power supply network in our country. Under the programme maintenance and servicing of power supply infrastructure such as replacing rotten poles, supply lines and conductors or cutting down trees encroaching them,” Eng Mwakamele noted.
About 60 percent of power interruptions arise from vegetation interference such as tree crossing power lines hence investing in the new technology is vital.
He further said that training one engineer to operate a live line maintenance can cost 500m/-. “It’s very expensive to train live line engineers but stakeholders should support this project to avoid power interruptions.
“Our company performs live line maintenance on energized circuits up to 33kv using modern bucket trucks. We are also changing jumpers and replacing jumper connections, hot spot repairs on lines, replace other apparatus, cut out a switch, changing straight line to dead end and many more,” he explained.
On her part, Stars General Insurance Company’s Manager, Doreen Mfalamagoha whose company covers the 40 female engineers working on the project, said her firm assures the women engineers and the public of better insurance coverage.
“We will cover them against accidents or getting sick so that they can concentrate on their training as this will benefit of our nation,” Mfalamagoha said while urging the public to consider insurance as a necessity other than a luxury.
On the other hand, the live line project female engineers, Lightness Salema, Dainess Uwezo and Milka Manyasi, at different times were grateful for landing the rare opportunity.
"We want to work with Tanesco to make power line repairs and maintenance without switching off electricity and interrupt businesses which are very important for growth," said Engineer Salema, a graduate from University of Dar es Salaam in 2002.
Seconding Eng Salema’s observation, Eng Manyasi who is a Saint Joseph University electric engineering graduate, said some people believe that their task is difficult hence only suitable for men.
“But the hard fact is that once you are keen to learn and understand the technology, the task is very easy and can be handled by any gender,” she underlined.
The first techniques for live-line working were developed in the early years of the 20th century, and both equipment and work methods were later refined to deal with increasingly higher voltages.