Ethiopia: State Owned Utility Suffers More Than 23 M Birr in Loss Due to Theft, Wanton Destruction of Electric Infrastructure

Addis Abeba — Part of the stolen electric wire in the Kombolcha – Desse transmission line theft in February this year. Photo: EEU

The state owned Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) said it has suffered huge losses of more than 23 million birr due to theft of electrical infrastructure in the last nine months of the current fiscal year alone.

Abebe Tesfa, EEU Director of the Directorate of Legal Services state media that the high level of theft and destruction of electricity infrastructure is challenging the service. According to him, 23.5 million Birr worth electric infrastructure was stolen mainly in the capital Addis Abeba, and Amhara and Oromia regional states. This has created further loss to the service in addition to the damage it sustained due to the two year war in the Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions.

In the last nine months alone, 137 infrastructure thefts have been committed, amounting to 23.5 million birr, EES said, adding the loss include losses due to theft on electric power itself.

Police investigations confirmed that there are organized groups and their accomplices behind the robbery, Abebe said. There are also mounting concerns that wires and metal equipment are being found including in large factories after a thorough investigations.

Abebe further said that although there are enough legal provisions to prevent such robberies, the gap in their implementation has heightened the problem. The first victims are communities, the Director said, and called local administrations to fulfill their duty to protect the properties as stipulated in the law.