The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) has begun using rented diesel generators to offset temporary setbacks, media reported. EEPCo had put an open tender for the supply of generators. Aggreko Plc (Aggreko) outbid the APR Energy LLC and Encom International, Inc. to install and operate 41 diesel generators with a net power of 30 megawatt (MW), to be fed into the Nazareth substation.

Aggreko has agreed to be paid a total of ETB220.1 million both in local and foreign exchange – for its help to operate the temporary station for six months. EEPCo will provide 800,000 litres diesel bought from the National Oil Company (NOC) of Ethiopia, for ETB180 million.

The company is busy in completing five of its hydro power projects, still the

annual demand for electricity is increasing at the rate of 21%.

Paul Gilbert, operations manager of the diesel generators at Nazareth substation, was in Adama town to run the operation of generating electric power from a battery of generators installed in the past two months by Aggreko.

We may probably stay a little longer, Gilbert, said.

Alemayehu Tegenu, minister of Mines and Energy, pinned his hope on the start of power generation from Tekeze hydro dam, beginning the next rainy season.

Who knows how nature will behave in the future, a senior EEPCo official said.

The country has spent ETB2.5 billion paid to the China Water Resources and Hydropower Construction Group (Sinohydro). Though the project was scheduled to be completed in 2007, a geological challenge unforeseen during the project study forced Sinohydro to request an extension by a year.

Even after a year, the plant has yet to begin generation; this time around, blame goes to nature for failing the company to harvest a little over 1,140 million above sea level water from the past rainy season. In abundance of water, EEPCo would have the ability to generate an additional 300 MW electric power from Tekeze.

EEPCo generates 814.14 MW power from its interconnected (national grid) and self connected systems; but hydropower accounts for 98% of its total generation capability.

In 2003, EEPCo had bought diesel generators now installed in Dire Dawa, Awash Sebat, and Kaliti. This was in addition to a power shedding scheme the company had applied for months nationwide.

The company has not announced power shedding programme officially as in the past, although it switches off its button during morning peak hours (between 9:00am and noon) and late in the afternoon (between 6:00pm and 8:00pm).

Less than three weeks ago, this was a muddy place, said Gilbert. We have now turned it to a temporary power generating station.

When completed at the end of February 2009, EEPCo will have to provide the 100,000 gallons diesel fuel paid with a projected budget of ETB180 million. As per the company officials, the selection process for the oil company that will supply the diesel is still in progress.