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Aba Samuel ,the first hydro power station in Ethiopia
Aba Samuel ,the first hydro power station in Ethiopia

Electric Power was introduced to Ethiopian in the late 19th Century, during the regime of Minilik. The first generator was said given to Minilik around the Year 1898 to light the palace. In addition to the use of generators ,Minilik got constructed the first Hydro Power Plant on Akaki River in the year 1912 in order to supply power to small factories that had been limited to small factories and the palace was extended to public places and major roads in the vicinity of the palace.

However, the effort of the government to extend the power supply to the public was hindered by the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the years 1936.During this temporary occupation, the Italian company called Coneil overtook the generation and destitution of electric power. The company installed generators at different places and extended the power supply to the then major towns. After the Italians were driven out from Ethiopia in the year 1941,an organization called Enemy property Administration was established and took over along with other activities the generation and distribution of power to the public.

In the year 1948, an organization that had been vested with the power to administer the enemy property was evolved to an organization called Shewa Electric Power. The new organization Shewa although with limited capacity, managed to increase the power supply not only in shewa but also other administrative regions. In light of its function, its name was changed to “Ethiopian Electric light and Power “in the year 1955.Soon after its establishment, the supervision and management of the organization was vested in the Board of Directors appointed by the government.

After eight months of its establishment, the Ethiopian Electric Light and Power was transformed to the “Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority” (Charter of the Ethiopian Electric Light and Power).The newly established Authority was conferred with the powers and duties of the previous Ethiopian Electric Light and Power. The purpose of the Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority was to engage in the business of production,transmitting ,disturbing and selling of electric energy to the public of Ethiopia and carry on any other lawful business incidental or appropriate hereto which is calculated directly or indirectly to promote the interest of the authority or to enhance the value of its properties. At then time of its establishment, the capital of the authority was ten million Ethiopian dollars divided into one thousand shares of per value of ten thousand Ethiopian dollars each. It was also determined that the Board of Directors appointed by the government shall exercise all the power of the authority. In addition to this, it was also determined that the Head Office of the Authority would be in Addis Ababa ,with branch offices at different places as necessary. At that time the annual electricity production capacity of the authority was 35 GWh while the number of customers was 12,500. In light of the socio economic development of the country the authority continued to increase then scope of its operation in order to accommodate new changes .After being in operation for about 55 years in this manner major changes in the objective and structural set up of the organization took place relative to the changes in the socio-economic condition of the country. In this regard, one of the major changes in the economic sector was the transformation of the centralized command economy to the free market driven economy in the year 1987.

In order to accommodate the new changes in the environment, the Ethiopian Electric light and Power Authority was transformed to the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation by reorganizing its functions on the basis of the principles of commercialization and decentralization. Accordingly, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation as public enterprise was established for indefinite duration by regulation No. 18/1997, and conferred with the powers and duties of the previous Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority. The purpose of the corporation is to engage in the business of producing, transmitting, distributing and selling electrical energy(in accordance with economic and social development policies and priorities of the government) and to carry on any other related activities that would enables it achieve its purpose. At the time of establishment, the authorized capital of the corporation was 6.1 billion Birr of which 2.67 Billion Birr was paid up in cash and kind. It was determined by the establishment regulation that the corporation shall have its Head Office in Addis Ababa and may have branch offices else where, as may be necessary. Currently,the annual electricity production capacity of the corporation is about 4980 GWH and the number of customers is about 1.1million.Although the corporation has been increasing the number of customers by more than 15% annually, but this does not mean that the corporation has met the demand for electric power .Hence ,the corporation is required to think and work strategically to meet then power supply need of the socio-economic development of the country.