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#ASDailyScoop: State-owned utility suffers 100 million birr loss due to theft on electric steel towers

A collapsed electric steel tower. Photo: EEP

Addis Abeba – State owned electric utility, Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), transmission lines and distribution stations operations sector said that in 2014 Ethiopian calendar alone, some 756 tons of steel was stolen from electric steel towers resulting in a loss of 100 million birr.

According to the director of the sector’s Eastern District, Gashaw Andreas, repeated thefts are taking place on high power transmission line steel towers managed by the Ethiopian Electric Power.

In the year 2014 Ethiopian calendar alone, 24 high power transmission steel towers were completely cut down and their iron and conductors looted as well as some 30, 257 different metals were removed from the towers that were still standing.

As a result, 756 tons of steel was stolen from both the fallen towers, and those still standing, which amounted to a loss of 72.3 million birr; additional 23.8 million birr was spent by the utility to replace the stolen steel.

Together with 2,396 megawatt hours of power lost due to the thefts, and reconstruction and service interruptions, EEP has suffered a loss of no less than 100 million birr, Gashaw said.

Moges Mekonnen, EEP director of communication, on his part said that awareness raising discussions have been held with various community representatives, security and judicial bodies to prevent further theft, which is yielding results

However, although such efforts have yielded results in prevention of such crimes in some areas, the problem still persists in other areas.

Moges hinted at the need to revisit the inadequate punishment imposed by the judicial bodies on convicted criminals as well as the activities of steel factories and investors who support and benefit from the theft. AS

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