Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) has constant fluctuations that hinder its operations. The funds the EUU collects from its customers every month are used to purchase the energy it distributes from Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP).
The EEU suffers from a shortage of funds when customers are unable or unwilling to pay for the electricity they use. It is estimated that close to $100 million per year is lost due to this reason. This is one of the hindrances to developing grids and services for unconnected Ethiopian consumers. COVID-19 has tremendously affected EEU’s revenue and delivery of services. EEU’s capability to cover existing debt and meet the required operations budget may be due to revenue loss due to COVID.
This also contributed to limiting the quality and the range of the services it provides. Since EEU powers essential health services in nearly 200 hospitals in Addis Ababa and Finfinne regions, it would affect them enormously. With an ambition to enhance the electric sector, EEP signed an agreement on Thursday, December 9, with the French General Electric and the Chinese Sinohydro companies to build two national power control centers and lay down a control and follow-up system with power distribution stations.
The agreement was signed by Ashebir Balcha, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power, Manyazewal Tesfaye, General Electric Head of Sales for East Africa, and Tian Hongjun, a representative of Sinohydro. A consultancy service for this project is provided by a Finnish firm called Hifab. The project will take three years to complete and will have €57.67 million, in addition to 102 million ETB budgeted for it. EEP will cover one-third of the expense while the French Development Agency, Agence Française de Développement, finances the rest.
EEP provides electricity to about three million Ethiopians. It aims to be self-reliant and has the ultimate goal of extending electricity service to all of the nation’s 100 million citizens.