Contract supervision for urban distribution and rural electricity access

Upgrade of the urban distribution networks in major towns and villages across five regional states in Ethiopia

Business Time Project Coordinator
Energy Start Date: 2011

The Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU)




In 2011, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, through the EEU, initiated an upgrade programme for the existing distribution networks (33 kV, 15 kV and 380/220 V) of eight major regional towns (urban distribution) and to provide electrification to approximately 100 rural towns and villages in five regional states. The project aimed to enhance power supply reliability and enable network extensions to supply new customers by means of the Energy Access Project.

The main challenge for the energy sector in Ethiopia is to increase access to sustainable energy for basic services and for economic growth. Ethiopia’s economy is growing quickly, albeit from a low base and, consequently, consumption of energy is growing rapidly at 12% per annum. Demand is estimated at twice this figure.

The challenge for this project is to provide effective, cost-efficient schemes to provide reliable transmission and distribution of electricity to urban and rural areas while providing technology transfer to Ethiopian engineers.


A project of this magnitude requires a company with a broad range of services and the insight to see the effects each stage of the development will have on the project goals. Our work began with system planning and is concluding with commissioning and testing.

In summary, our work includes:

  • Review of the initial network design carried out by EEU
  • Detailed system planning involving data collection, GIS, load forecast, power flow studies, technical losses and capitalization and optimised network development
  • Preparation of standard specifications
  • Training and technology transfer
  • Approval of contractors’ drawings and documents
  • Preparation of implementation plan
  • Factory acceptance testing
  • Supervision of erection works


As a World Bank funded project, the management and delivery of this project are heavily scrutinised by independent authorities.

The work carried out by We have been commended by the World Bank as first-class. We are still working on this important project with the World Bank and the EEU, and it has initiated similar contracts elsewhere in West Africa.

As a result of this project, the EEU has an optimised plan for the rehabilitation and the development of the electricity distribution networks in key towns in Ethiopia. Our work has resulted in improvements to the quality and reliability of electricity supplies to customers.

The reduction in technical losses will help with sustainable development and enhance the economic development of the towns and country. Importantly, we have dedicated ourselves to transferring knowledge to local engineers to improve long-term self-sufficiency for Ethiopia.