In September 1993, Urambo became the first village in Tanzania to form an electricity consumers co-operative. The parastatal power supply utility in Tanzania, TANESCO, wants to try cooperatives as a way for local people to contribute to the establishment of their own power supply and the process of establishing the Urambo cooperative has been especially followed by sociologists to identify social factors in formation of electricity consumer cooperatives, including affordability among the villagers, expected level of industrial activity, expected load level in different households and gender issues. In addition to Urambo, which is an isolated village where both generation (by diesel engines) and distribution are managed by the cooperative, three other villages are involved in the project, Mbinga, Shimibi and Skionge. Mbinga is isolated from the national grid, but power can be brought in bulk from a coffee curing plant that has excess electricity generation. Shimbi and Sikonge village cooperatives will buy bulk electricity directly from the national grid and be in charge of distribution, metering and billing. The project is funded by the Swedish International Development Authority through the Stockholm Environment Institute.
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