The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) announced that its power generation shrunk by 700 megawatt from the previously expected 2,000 megawatt total production capacity.
The corporation has also ordered industries to cut their consumption as power rationing is threatening.
Since early September, power interruption has been a common practice in cities around the country. Miheret Debebe, CEO of EEPCo, said that the interruptions occurred due to the limited load capacity of transmission lines and expansion work of new transmission lines in Addis Ababa. He stated this during a media briefing on Friday October 22 on the current power supply situation and power cut issues.
He said that power demand is growing by 24 percent a year and the corporation has the capacity to supply ample electric power for the country. “But the current transmission line’s electric load capacity is a problem that leads to power interruption, mainly during peak hours,” the CEO said.
He further explained that the rehabilitation of the existing transmission line is being undertaken on some projects, while the corporation will also carry out new electricity transmission system improvement projects with the support of the World Bank.
Meanwhile, the CEO noted that the corporation’s power supply is intermittently interrupted due to some technical problems, and currently it is producing about 1,300 megawatt only from all of its dams operating in the country.
But experts said that the current power production is way under the stated 1,300 megawatt. “The recently inaugurated Gilgel Gibe II Hydro Power Plant that has the capacity to produce 420 megawatt is not generating anything as it collapsed some months back shortly after its inauguration. Tekeze Hydro Power Plant, another new power station that has the capacity to generate 300 megawatt, is generating only about 70 megawatt,” the expert explained.
“However Tana Beles, the biggest hydro power station in the country with a capacity of generating 460 megawatt, is producing at full capacity. Still its 400 kilovolt transmission installation work from Bahir Dar to the central part of the country hasn’t been finalized. Hence the power supply from Tana is transmitted on limited kilovolt transmission lines and has a high wastage,” experts explain about the current power problem. The three huge hydropower projects totally produce 1,180 megawatt of power.
Furthermore, according to sources at EEPCo, one of the effective power stations, Gilgel Gibe I is producing half from its total 180 megawatt capacity, due to a transformer collapse. Before the inauguration of these, new, power generation plants the country only generated 840 megawatt of power.
The CEO did not identify when the current power problem will be solved. But the finalization of Tana Beles transmission line work and renovation of Gilgel Gibe II are highly expected to solve the problem.
On Thursday October 21, the corporation officially sent letters to factories to halt their production during evening time, from 6 O’clock until 10pm, a period considered as peak hours. Many believe that the rationing is back again as they are experiencing power cuts without any notice almost everyday.