14 September 2017

Ethiopia: EPU to Finalize Power Supply Upgrading This Year

Ethiopian Power Utility (EPU) said the multimillion dollar power distribution capacity building, updating and upgrading project it has been undertaking to reduce duration and frequency of power outage will be completed this budget year.

While demand for electricity has been on the rise in the country, frequent power outage has for long been a major concern of and source of frustration for citizens and small and mega businesses alike. In Addis, the frequent power outage forced businesses to utilize power generators so that they go about their daily businesses smoothly.

However, nation has been massively engaged in expanding power production. For instance, the construction of Gilgel Gibe III Dam with a power output of about 1870 Megawatt (MW) was completed last year, thus more than doubling total installed capacity, according to the Ethiopian Electric power.

Gebregezabiher Taffere is Communication Directorate Director at the Ethiopian Power Utility, a company engaged in the business of distributing and selling electrical energy. He told The Ethiopian Herald that the major reason for the repeated power outage has been the low capacity of aged electric lines, transformers and poles. Hence, EPU is undertaking a rehabilitation project to repair and update electric power supply lines using fund from international partners.

"EPU is investing huge sums of finance and conducting capacity building and upgrading to reduce the frequency and duration of power outage," he added. The new project would standardize electric supply to improve quality and service delivery.

The rehabilitation project in the capital and eight major urban centers will be fully finalized this Ethiopian budget year.

As to him, besides reducing the frequency and duration of power outage, the project would also ease power wastage and inefficiency and provide access to power to new customers.

The Addis Ababa project alone is being executed with a budget of 200 million USD, of which the Chinese Exim Bank provided a loan of around 163 million. The project is being undertaken by Power China, a Chinese company. The remaining financial loan for the capital's and other projects was gained from the World Bank and oil producing countries, according to him.

The project would update old electric lines and replace the old wood utility poles with concrete ones. Some 146 km of underground electric line would also be installed in Addis Ababa.

While there are three projects in Addis, some 1000 km of electric line would be installed in one project alone. Several transformers and 20,000 concrete poles would also be installed.

Besides reducing power interruption, the ongoing project would also reduce security threats that electric lines and poles caused damage on human life and property previously.

The rehabilitation will also be expanded in other areas. "The project has also commenced in additional six cities with 1.7 billion birr and several others would also follow once feasibility study is conducted," he said adding, "There are also other projects that are being carried out by foreign companies where Ethiopians are engaged in as sub-contractors."


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