Six Urban Towns to Get Power Upgrade


EEU has already granted 1.7 billion Br that was obtanied from the World Bank for the project




The Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) is to going to rehabilitate and upgrade electric power distribution lines in six regional towns with 1.7 billion Br financing from the World Bank’s (WB) International Development Association (IDA) and the government coffer.

The rehabilitation will be undertaken in Adigrat, Debre Marqos, Gondor, Shashamane, Wolaita Sodo and Harar. Out of the total amount, IDA will cover 1.4 billion Br. The project is expected to avoid the recurrent blackouts in these towns.

For the project, the government received credit from the World Bank towards the implementation of Urban Distribution Network Rehabilitation & Expansion Plan as part of WB’s Electricity Network Reinforcement & Expansion Project (ENREP).

The Utility believes the main reason for intermittent power outages is old electric power distribution lines in Addis Abeba as well as in the regional towns.

Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) conducted a feasibility study for the project in 2016. After receiving the study, the EEU collected data from the cities to assess the level of the electric network installation, transmission levels and the requirements for the rehabilitation works, according to Aklilu Kebede, head of Distribution Projects Management Office under the EEU.

With this rehabilitation project, EEU will mainly focus on three major areas. Fully sustain the medium volt lines, distribution systems with voltages above one kilovolt; rehabilitate 60pc of the low volt, volts distributed through overhead lines and underground cables; and maintain 157 transformers.

It will also connect 150,000 energy meters in 14 towns which are getting their transmission lines rehabilitated.

“The rehabilitation will make improvements on the duration of power outages and minimise the frequency of the interruptions,” Gossaye Mengiste, CEO of the Utility, told Fortune.

The project also aims to minimise technical loss during power outages, by making the power supply reliable in the towns.

To hire a consultant for the project, the EEU prepared a bidding document and sent the request for proposal (RFP) document to WB on August 14, 2017, for objection.

For the consultancy service, six companies are already shortlisted, and the EEU expects the objection from the WB before sending it to the companies to receive their price offer and technical specifications, according to Aklilu.

EEU is also in the final stages of preparing a bidding document to hire a contractor, which is intended to contract local firms, according to Aklilu.

The project is expected to be commissioned in December 2017, with the intention of fully executing the entire project within a year after the commencement.

The move is a wise but long overdue for Tigabu Atalo, an electrical engineer and power and energy consultant with over a decade’s worth of experience in the power sector, including in the former Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO). A corporation that was later split up into EEP and EEU, bodies that are now tasked with power generation and distribution, respectively.

“The Utility needs to be proactive to do the maintenance before a complete shutdown occurs,” said Tigabu.

A similar project was commenced two years ago to rehabilitate transmission lines in eight urban cities including Addis Abeba. The Chinese state-owned firm, China Electric Power Equipment & Technology Co. Ltd. (CET), sealed the deal with the EEU at a cost of 339 million Br. The firm is working on rehabilitation and upgrading of electric networks in Addis Abeba, Adama, Dire Dawa, Hawassa, Bahir Dar, Dessie, Jimma and Mekelle.

The project also includes the installation of automated technologies for control supply systems and performing quality control on electric distribution networks.

“The project is in its final stages, except in Bahir Dar, where we are facing challenges in logistics,” said Gossaye.

In addition, a major rehabilitation project with a 162 million dollar financing from EX-IM Bank of China and WB is being carried out in Addis Abeba, where its progress has already reached 68pc. The project was started in October 2016 and is expected to be finalized in 2018.

The electricity coverage of the nation has reached 55pc, where 93pc of urban households and eight percent of rural households have access to electricity, according to the Central Statistical Agency (CSA). On the other hand, the country is generating a total of 4,238Mw from 13 hydro, six diesel, one geothermal and three wind farms.



By FASIKA TADESSE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Aug 20,2017 [ Vol 18 ,No 904]


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