Electricity was introduced to Cyprus in 1903 by the British colonial government, which installed a power generator to serve the needs of the Governor in Nicosia. Shortly afterwards, a second generator was installed in the Nicosia General Hospital.
Cypriots gradually started to use electricity from 1912, when its commercial generation and wider distribution began. The pioneering town in this regard was Limassol, where an electricity company with power generators was established. The following year saw the foundation of the Nicosia Electricity Company and a decade later (from 1922 onwards) other towns and villages followed (Morphou, Platres, Pedoulas, Lefkara, Paralimni, etc.).
The first Distribution Networks (low voltage) were installed in town centres and connected to generators for street lighting and supply to a small number of consumers.
Until 1952, when the Electricity Authority of Cyprus was established, the availability of electricity across the island spread at an extremely slow pace, while in rural areas it was virtually non-existent.
The existing methods of electricity generation and distribution were uneconomical, thus preventing the rapid expansion of supply and its potential contribution to the growth of the country's economy. The ideal solution to the problem would eventually take the form of a central organisation to cover the need for electricity throughout Cyprus.
The Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC) was thus established on 30 October 1952, with responsibility for electricity generation, transmission and distribution. During the first two years of its existence, it proceeded to take over the small electricity companies in the island's towns in order to begin the major endeavour aimed at the electrification of the whole island.
In 1953, the first government-funded Power Station (PS) was built at Dhekelia. At the same time, the main transmission lines were also constructed, linking the PS with the main towns – Dhekelia-Nicosia, Dhekelia-Larnaca, Larnaca-Limassol, etc. From then on, EAC developed rapidly, especially following independence and the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.
As the Cyprus economy continued to grow, the demand for electricity increased. While in 1952, the Authority supplied only Nicosia and Limassol, in 1954 it was supplying power to 11 towns and villages and by 1960 the number had grown to 100, accompanied by a corresponding increase in the number of Transmission lines, Transmission and Distribution Substations.
EAC proceeded to construct a second PS at Moni, the first phase of which was completed in 1966 and the third and last phase in 1976. At the same time, the Transmission and Distribution Network was upgraded in the town centres and significantly expanded, bringing electricity to every community in Cyprus.
Following the tragic events of 1974, the Cyprus economy once again experienced rapid growth, requiring the construction of a new PS, which would respond effectively to the increased demand for electricity and also replace the first and, by then, uneconomical units of the first power station at Dhekelia. So, next to the old PS, work began in 1980 on the first phase of the new Dhekelia B Power Station, which was completed in three phases by 1993. The original Dhekelia PS was finally demolished in 2002, after 40 years of operation.
In 1997, work began on the construction of a new Power Station in the Vasilikos area. The first phase of the Vasilikos PS, consisting of two steam generation units and an open-cycle gas turbine unit, came into operation in 2000. A third steam unit was installed in 2004, followed by two combined-cycle gas turbine units in 2010 and 2011. Furthermore, at Dhekelia PS, internal combustion engines were installed and brought into commercial operation in 2009 and 2010.
The catastrophic explosion at the Mari Naval Base on 11 July 2011 almost completely destroyed the Vasilikos PS. EAC began a huge effort to fully repair the Power Station and restore it to full operation. It is an undeniably great achievement that, within just two years, the PS was totally rebuilt and, by summer 2013, all its generation units were once again in commercial operation.
In accordance with an EU Directive and the relevant decisions of CERA in 2014, EAC's operations have been divided through operational unbundling into four Core Regulated Activities and one Non-Regulated Activities unit. Each Core Regulated Activity organises its departments separately so as to respond effectively to the new market requirements. EAC's operational unbundling ensures equal treatment for all market participants, total transparency and the avoidance of cross-subsidisation. Transmission and Distribution remain monopoly activities under the new legislation and are regulated by CERA, while Generation and Supply are now part of the competitive free market.
In February 2022, contracts were signed for the 6th Combined Cycle Gas Turbine Unit at Vasilikos PS, with a maximum total capacity of 160MW. The new Generation Unit is due to come into commercial operation by summer 2024. The Unit will use natural gas as its main fuel but it will also be able to operate with diesel as an alternative.
This year sees the 70th anniversary of EAC's foundation. The energy sector, both globally and in Cyprus, faces significant challenges and EAC is called upon to respond to the continuously changing environment and the increased demands of all stakeholders.
EAC operates a modern and reliable Transmission system. The Transmission Network is the backbone of the Authority's power system, since it interconnects the Power Stations with the Distribution Network. It consists of 62 Transmission Substations, 1,150 kilometres of High Voltage overhead power lines and 212 kilometres of underground cables.
The EAC Distribution System, linking the Transmission Substations to consumer premises, consists of 6,266 Distribution Substations, 10,849 Pole-mounted Transformers, 11,264 kilometres of Underground Cables and 16,358 kilometres of Overhead Power Lines.
In accordance with the EU decision to become carbon-neutral (net zero greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050, making Europe the world's first climate-neutral region, the incorporation of green energy, in which consumers play a key role, has begun. They become active customers who cover almost all their average energy needs.
On this basis, the network is transformed from a system of cables into a platform for the mutual flow of electricity and information. The Distribution System thus becomes the driver of this energy transition. Its new role is based on the evolution of the Distribution Network, of business systems and its design, so that it is in a position to provide the required observability and predictability and support real-time decision-making.
The main activities, related to the above and currently being implemented, may be summarised as the following:
Mass installation of 400,000 smart meters by 2026
Installation of Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and Advanced Distribution Management Systems (ADMS)
Upgrading of equipment and automation
Study on the redesign of the network and its evolution in the decade 2021-2030
Today, some 65% of electricity in Cyprus is generated by the Vasilikos PS and 35% by Dhekelia PS. The Power Station at Moni has only backup units (four open-cycle gas turbines), mainly for use at times of peak demand and/or in emergencies.
The fuel used in EAC generation units is mazut (at all units at the Dhekelia PS and in the steam units at Vasilikos) and diesel (in all the gas turbine units at Vasiikos and Moni). Apart from the open cycle gas turbine unit at Vasilikos PS, all the other generation units at Vasilikos are in the final stage of the project to modify/upgrade them to be ready to operate with Natural Gas (NG) when this becomes available on the island.
EAC has a 30% share in the consortium created for the construction and operation of the essential infrastructure for the delivery and storage of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The use of NG for electricity generation will contribute to a reduction of 25%-30% in carbon dioxide emissions and, by extension, a reduction to the cost of carbon offset credits and lower emissions of industrial emissions of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxide and dust.
Since we are totally independent on oil for electricity generation, we are vulnerable to price rises on the international market. For this reason, EAC is making efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and promote RES. Apart from the PV Park at Tseri, EAC has also begun work on the construction of a new 12MW PV Park in the Akrotiri area in Limassol. Moreover, in the context of a joint venture between EAC and the Holy Archbishopric of Cyprus, the design is now complete for a large Photovoltaic Park in the Achera area.
At the same time, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, EAC is making the most of its know-how and experience and proceeding to install photovoltaic systems in more than 400 schools in Cyprus. In addition, it has almost completed the project of installing LED streetlights across the island.
In addition to the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity, in the context of its development policy, EAC is investing in a range of other areas, such as desalination, in which the Authority has a high level of expertise. Since 2014, EAC has operated the largest Desalination Plant at the Vasilikos PS, with the capability of producing 60,000 cubic metres of potable water per day, thereby making a significant contribution to Cyprus' water balance, since its entire production is channelled to the Water Development Department.
Furthermore, EAC is a leader in the efforts to bring electromobility to Cyprus. The e-charge service was introduced by EAC seven years ago, with the aim of giving the owners of electric vehicles access to reliable electric charging points in public spaces. At present, 31 charging stations operate across the island and 40 more are due to be purchased and installed.
As an independent corporation governed by public law, EAC belongs to the citizens of Cyprus and operates in accordance with the Law that governs its activities, adhering strictly to the rules of sound administration.
The responsibility of the Authority, as a supplier of electricity, extends far beyond its main mission, which is to provide a reliable power supply and quality services to some 600,000 customers. It also has a responsibility to build a better future for all by implementing best practices in the main areas of management by fully complying with the new Code of Public Governance, which aims, among others, at sound administration and the maximisation of the value of services provided.
The constant and intensive efforts made by the Executive and Management of the Organisation, in the framework of its strategy for the design and implementation of an effective and people-oriented management system based on international health & safety, environmental, risk management and business continuity quality standards, ensure continuous improvement and compliance with the complex demands of regulatory and supervisory bodies. The supervision of the system, by the committees of the Board of Directors and the multiple monitoring systems and reviews of results, ensures the highest degree of effectiveness and the achievement of the Organisation's strategic goals on a continuous basis.
The aim of EAC is to constantly upgrade the services and assistance if offers its customers, while remaining a financially healthy and active business. Capable of responding to the challenges of the times though the implementation of its investment-development planning, EAC is the solid energy pillar that Cyprus needs.