Ethiopia's Capital Finalising U.S.$90 Million Electricity Distribution Upgrade

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) is to finish its 90 million dollar Addis Abeba Distribution Rehabilitation Project this month, to double the city’s distribution capacity.

The implementation of the first two sets of the phase was started in April 2008 by ETDE, a French subsidiary of Boygues Construction Co. Bouygues Construction, a subsidiary of Bouygues Group, a prominent company engaged in building, civil works, as well as electrical contracting and maintenance sectors, generated sales of 6.3 billion dollars in 2010.

ETDE, which was founded as a utility network specialist in 1929, is expected to complete installing underground cables and erecting a switch station comprising the first set, in June 2011.

The second set, the rehabilitation of medium and low voltage lines, is also expected to be completed this month by the company, which engages extensively in the electrical engineering and maintenance sector.

The third set, which is being done by ABB OY, a Finnish company, saw the construction of a distribution network control centre that started in June 2008. ABB OY, subsidiary of ABB Co which primarily engages in power distribution and the manufacturing of specialty transformers, is also set to finish construction this month.

The project is expected to double the city’s current power distribution capacity as well as reduce power interruptions and wastage, according to Mesfin Brehane, executive officer of distribution systems at EEPCo.

In 2008, shortly before the rehabilitation to upgrade the lines commenced, the distribution capacity in the city was 700MVA in 2008, according to the EEPCo. Upon the completion of the project, it will be 1,400MVA, the corporation claimed.

The corporation also plans to embark on the next phase of the urban distribution rehabilitation project with the rehabilitation of the power grids of seven other cities, as well as more work on that of the capital, according to Mesfin.

The project is to see the low voltage network of Addis Abeba rehabilitated and will include the rehabilitation of the medium and low voltage networks of Adama (Nazareth), Awassa, Bahir Dar, Dessie, Dire Dawa, Jimma, and Mekelle, Mesfin claimed.

“We are designing the project using our own manpower and expect to complete it this month,” Mesfin said. “The prequalification of local and international companies to procure consultancy and implementation services for the upgrading works are ongoing.”

Companies who pass the prequalification stage are to be shortlisted and invited to bid. They are shortlisted based on criteria set by the World Bank (WB), from which the funds for both projects were procured in a loan that is to be repaid with interest.

Implementation of the project, which is estimated to cost 58 million dollars, is to start in December 2011 and completed by June 2013, according to Mesfin.

The urban distribution rehabilitation projects are being implemented on the 126,000km existing distribution line.

The increase of Ethiopia’s distribution lines to 258,000km to satisfy the ever-increasing electricity demand by the end of the 2014/15 fiscal year is envisioned in the GTP.

The GTP also aims to increase the total length of rehabilitated distribution lines from 450km to 8,130km, increase the total underground power distribution system from 97km to 150km, increase the number of consumers with access to electricity from two million to four million, and reduce the power wastage from 11.5pc to 5.6pc by the end of its five-year period.

Previously, under the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP) Plan, the target of increasing the national power generation capacity from 714MW in 2004/05 to 3,270MW by 2009/10, achieved only 62pc of its target, 2,000MW.