Electric transformer theft in Ethiopia increases

Electric transformer theft by organized criminals is increasing in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, says the state power agency.

Nine transformers are stolen within one month in Bole and Yeka sub cities of Addis Ababa, according to federal police report broadcasted on the state broadcaster – ETV- this morning. The organized criminals have been using heavy truck and cranes to steal the transformers pretending that they are employees of Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) engaged in maintenance of the transformers.

The purpose of the organized criminals is not just making money from stolen transformers, they seem to have backed by a certain group, which is trying to create chaos in the city, according to one person who commented in the police report. He thinks that putting Addis Ababans in the dark and creating grievance against the government could be the motive of the group behind electric transformers theft in Addis Ababa.

Melaku Taye, Communications head of Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) on his part indicated that the criminals steal the transformers during the day light using the recent power rationing as an opportunity. He stated that the government has spent between half a million birr (around $17,300) to two million birr (around $69,200) for buying each transformer from abroad and are supposed to serve up to 25 years.

Indicating that one transformer serves up to 100 customers, Mr. Melaku urged the public to verify the credentials of people who claim to be employees of EEP or EEU. Of the people captured stealing transformers in the city during daylight, some are arrested and are under investigation, according to the report, which didn’t mention the figure related to transformation theft outside the capital.