Fallout Over Koka Power OutageMarch 3rd, 2010
Fortune - Electric supply has become stressed following the burning of the substation transformer for Koka Hydroelectric Dam on February 3, 2010, three weeks after the news of the collapse of the tunnel of the Gilgal Gibe II Hydroelectric Plant.
The dam, located 83km from Addis Abeba, in the Oromia Regional State, was established in 1960. It generates 45MW using three turbines. This power used to go to Modjo, Harar, Dire Dawa, Nazareth, and Addis Abeba. Most of it goes directly into the national grid, with only a little being used locally.
The part that burned down, according to Miheret Debebe, CEO of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), is the part that supplied the local power. This led to a complete power failure in Modjo for three days.
Supply to its factories was restored early last week, after a week and a half of blackout. There are five leather factories, two export abattoirs, a textile factory, and an edible oil factory in the town. The factories had to communicate with EEPCo before power was partially restored to them, according to one of the factory owners.
"The power came along with a letter from the corporation," this person said, "and the letter did not bear good news."
EEPCo has ordered the companies to reduce their consumption by half.
"We had hoped that we would not face a power problem again," he said with disappointment.
Mojo Modern Export Abattoir has been suffering from power failures for the past 25 days, according to owner Ayele Dejene.
"I cannot use a generator because the cost is high," he said.
Efforts are underway to replace the transformer, according to an official at EEPCo.
"This is not something we keep in stock," this official said. "It is expensive and it does break down frequently."
The problem could be solved before the week was over, according to Miheret.