The History of Electricity in Cyprus and the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC)
The small Mediterranean Island of Cyprus has been enjoying the benefits of electricity for over 100 years. The new source of energy was first introduced in 1903 with the installation by the then British colonial government of a power generator to serve the needs of the Commission in the capital, Lefkosia. This was followed shortly afterwards by the installation of a second generator at the Lefkosia General Hospital.
A limited number of Cypriots soon started to use electricity from 1912, when the first electricity company, which operated a power station with generators, was formed in Lemesos under the initiative of the Stamatiou brothers, George Yiannopoulos and other entrepreneurs from Lemesos. The company was called Electrofotistiki Eteria Lemesou (The Limassol Electric Light Company).
George Pierides, a powerful figure in the economic life of the capital, formed the Nicosia Electricity Company the following year in 1913.
Naturally, within the course of a few years, all other towns followed. In 1922 the Municipal Electricity Authorities were formed in the towns of Ammochostos, Larnaka and Pafos, while in Kyrenia the town's municipality set up its electricity company in 1927. Gradually, a number of rural centers such as Morfou, Platres, Pedoulas, Lefkara, Xeros, Lefka and Lefkonico formed their own electric companies.
However, electricity was virtually non-existent in the small villages and countryside until 1952, the year of the establishment of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus.
By 1952 there were 28 companies serving 6 major towns and 22 smaller townships and villages. Sixteen of these were municipal or communal companies, some of which supplied consumers with electricity only during the evening. Also, the existing legislation at the time prohibited the privately owned companies from supplying electricity outside their specific municipality or village area.
These companies faced serious economic problems due to the conservative nature of the Cyprus society, which was not in a position to appreciate the revolutionary changes that electricity was about to bring to the island. The people did not trust the new form of power, as interruptions at the time were long and frequent. And, of course, they did not rely on it - there were few electrical appliances and machinery, a far cry from the host of modern electrical appliances and machinery found in today's factories and homes. As the name, 'Limassol Electric Light Company' indicates, the electricity supplied was used only for lighting purposes.
Just how reluctant Cypriots were to use electricity is shown by the fact that the “Limasol Electric Light Company” launched a promotional campaign in which it provided free electricity for a trial period, so that people could see for themselves the benefits of this new form of power.
The Electricity Plants of the Electric Companies
The plants of the Electric Companies were usually situated at the centre of the town or village. The noise they created was deafening, causing great disturbance and displeasure to the residents in the area. The majority of companies were using second-hand power generators, which were constantly associated with problems. Also, weather conditions greatly affected the operation of these machines.
In Lemesos, for instance, humidity had a contracting effect on the belts of the generating machines causing them to snap. During the summer months, a different problem was created by the heat, which caused the belts to expand and become loose - the machines were constantly being stopped, so that the belts could be tightened.
Distribution networks were also in bad shape and quite inadequate to cover the electrical needs of consumers. To understand the shape of the Distribution system at that time, beams from pine wood were sometimes used as electricity poles and also concrete poles were used.
Until 1952, electricity consumption was charged similarly in all cases. This was a charge per unit (Kwh), regardless of electricity usage, load demand etc.
Tariffs were decided upon by the Municipal Authorities. In the case of private electric companies, the applicable tariffs were agreed between the electric companies and the Municipal or Village Authorities, after consultations but always subject to Government approval.
Limited consumption on one hand, combined with increased operating and maintenance costs on the other, led to high prices, which in turn led to even lower consumption.
For example, in 1949, the tariff per kWh in Lefkosia was 4,5 piastres, which was equal to the price of three loaves of bread, or a dozen eggs. Today, 2008 the cost of a Kwh is about 14 cents/kWh, i.e. one tenth of the price of one loaf of bread, and equal to one egg - not one dozen.
The Need to Organize and plan Electricity Generation
It had become more than evident, that this state of affairs could not continue. In addition to the fact that the method of generation and distribution was uneconomical, it did not provide for the rapid expansion of electricity supply that was so necessary for the progress of the country.
Radical and permanent solution to the problem was to establish a centralized system for electricity generation and distribution, which would cover the needs of the whole island.
At the end of the Second World War it was debated in England, as to whether or not the electricity generation industry should come under State control. In 1944, Cyprus was still a British Colony and decisions made in Britain were affecting and applied in Cyprus too. So the subject of electricity supply to the whole of Cyprus was under careful study, by establishing one or two generating stations.
Construction of a Power Station
Experts were called in to appraise the situation and, in 1946, submitted their study to the Government. The following year, the then Governor of Cyprus appointed a five-member Working Group, which was assigned the task of implementing the expert's proposal to establish a power station. On the 20th March 1950, work commenced on the construction of a power station in Dhekelia, near Larnaka on a site, which was chosen by the Working Group as the most suitable location.
The first phase of the power station was financed by the Government, and was completed and put into operation on February 2nd 1953. The remaining phases were gradually completed and the station reached a total capacity of 84 MW. This power station, together with the other power stations which were constructed later, used heavy fuel oil, which is imported from abroad by EAC.
The Establishment of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC)
It was obvious that, with the construction of a power station, it would be necessary to set up an organization responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in Cyprus. So, on October 30th 1952, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus was established under the "Electricity Development Law". The Law gave the Authority the right to expropriate the existing electricity companies.
As soon as EAC was established, suitably trained staff was employed to carry out EAC’s main objectives, i.e. the rational organization of generation, transmission and distribution of electricity throughout the island. In other words, to merge all electric companies into one, unify the transmission network and gradually abolish the privately owned Electricity companies and undertakings.
As a first step, in November 1952 the EAC expropriated the two biggest companies, those of Lefkosia and Lemesos.
How was Exporation Curried Out
It is interesting to see how the expropriation was carried out and how compensation was calculated.
Several Stock-taking teams, made up of EAC employees and experts, were set up. These teams drew up an inventory of all moveable and immovable assets of the companies under expropriation. Then, at a time when they were least expected - such as very early in the morning - the Stock-taking team would serve the expropriation order, which was usually issued the previous evening. This was done in order to avoid any attempts from the Electric Company owners to distort their company’s property.
After the Stock-taking was completed, and the employees of the expropriated companies joined the EAC, negotiations were commencing to determine the amount of compensation that EAC had to pay.
In addition to the cases of expropriation, the owners of some of the smaller electricity companies sought, on their own initiative, a friendly take-over arrangement by EAC. There were even a few cases, where the EAC took over some electric companies (village or communal) without paying any compensation, as these were mostly loss-making businesses.
The Growth of EAC
In the first two years the EAC was busy with the expropriation of the small companies in towns. Further to the construction of the Dhekelia Power Station, the main transmission lines were constructed, linking the station with the main towns. Thus, the Dhekelia-Lefkosia, the Dhekelia, and the Larnaka-Lemesos lines were constructed.
Gradually, all the previously owned generators in towns and villages were decommissioned. However, for a number of years maintenance work was carried out on some of them and the ones in towns were kept in good condition in order to be used in cases of emergency.
From there on, the development of EAC and the electrification of Cyprus in general proceeded in faster rates and the growth continued very rapidly, especially after the establishment of the Cyprus Republic in 1960.
Characteristically, in 1952 only 20 000 consumers were connected to the electric network. In 1953 this number rose to 38.000 and by the time of the establishment of the Cyprus Republic stood at about 80.000.
There was also a corresponding increase in the number of towns and villages supplied with electricity. In 1952 EAC started supplying mainly the towns of Lefkosia and Lemesos. By 1954 the number of towns and villages connected to the electric network rose to eleven, and by 1960 this number had jumped to one hundred.
Rapid growth rates after the establishment of the Cyprus Republic
Following the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960, the pace of the island's electrification scheme was impressive. The number of consumers, which in 1960 was 80.000, rose to 120.000 by 1966. By 1973, this figure had risen to 183.000, in 1982 it was up to 201 000, in 1985 to 233.000, in 1988 262.000. In 1993, the number of consumers increased to 313.000, in 1998 the figure rose to 360.000, in 2002 to 394.000, in 2004 to 419.000, in 2006 to 455.000 and in 2008 to 500.000. In August of 2009 EAC consumers rose to 512.000.
Even more impressive is the fact that the number of towns and villages connected to the electric grid, which was 100 in 1960, increased to 145 in 1962, then to 228 in 1964, to 322 in 1966, and to 406 in 1968. In 1972 it reached 527, covering all towns and villages of the island. This means that in just 12 years EAC succeeded in supplying electricity to all the built-up areas of Cyprus and, therefore, dramatically raising the standard of living for all Cypriots.
Second Power Station
With the rapid development of all sectors of the Cyprus economy - industry, trade, and agriculture, it soon became apparent that one power station could no longer meet the growing demands for electricity supply. A suitable location was found on the south coast near Moni village, and the Authority proceeded with the construction of a second power station. The first phase of the new station was operational in 1966, and by 1976, when the station was completed it had an output of 180 MW. Today the Moni Power Station comprises of six steam-turbine units of 30MW each and four gas turbine units of 37,5MW each with a total output of 330MW.
The Turkish Invasion of Cyprus
The impressive growth of the Electricity Authority of Cyprus was abruptly halted in July of 1974, following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the occupation of 40% of the island's territory. This situation, which still prevails, adversely affected and continues to affect the finances of the EAC and consequently its smooth growth. It should be noted that, apart from the loss of electrical installations band billing in the occupied areas, valued at tens of millions of pounds, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus is unable to recover the cost (unbilled consumption) of supplying with electricity the occupied parts of Cyprus. Today the amount of electrical energy supplied to the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus has greatly decreased and is of the order of 7,6GWh
With determination and dedication, the EAC staff has managed to overcome the enormous difficulties and problems as a result of the 1974 Turkish invasion. With proper planning and hard work, EAC has managed to create the necessary prerequisites for its survival and future growth. It is not an exaggeration to state that the Electricity Authority of Cyprus played a leading role in the economic recovery and growth of the country throughout the difficult years following the Turkish invasion (1974-80).
Establishment of a Third Power Station
In spite of the enormity of the tragic events of 1974, the Cyprus economy made a rapid recovery. It soon became evident that there was a need to build a new power station to replace the ageing Dhekelia Station, which was by then becoming uneconomical. Work commenced in February 1980, on a site next to the old station, for the construction of the "Dhekelia ‘B’ Power Station". The first unit of 60MW was completed and commissioned in 1982. Additional units were commissioned in 1983, 1992 and 1993. The Dhekelia “B” Power Station was finally completed in 1993, with a total capacity of 360 MW. Following its completion, the Dhekelia “A” Power Station, which had operated for more than 30 years (usual lifetime of such a station), was decommissioned in June 2002 and then dismantled.
New Power Station
In 1997 work began for the construction of a new power station in the Vasilikos area. The Vasilikos Power Station is situated 28 km East of Lemesos, in the vicinity of Governors Beach and Zygi.
The first phase of the Power Station was completed in 2000 and comprised of one gas turbine unit of 38MW and two steam-turbine units of 130MW each. Today a third steam-turbine unit of 130MW is operating. In the next 5 years three additional units of 220MW each will come into the grid. These units will be of the combined cycle type, dual firing, using natural gas or diesel oil.
The Cyprus Electricity Authority Web Page
On November 27, 1997 the Electricity Authority of Cyprus Web Page became available for public use. The address is http://www.eac.com.cy. On the page visitors can find:
General information about the EAC
General information about the Electrical System (Generation, Transmission, Distribution, Supply)
Customer Service Information
Information about International Tender
Information on safety and Energy Saving measures
Environment and Environmental measures and action by EAC
In July of 2008 the EAC website was upgraded and also became more customer friendly. It now offers more information and new choices on how to pay the elecricity bills like online payment.
New Head Offices
On July 16, 2000, at a site very near to the entrance of Lefkosia town work begun for the construction of the New EAC Head Offices. The building was completed and handed over by the contractor in March 2005. The address is 11 Amphipoleos Street, Strovolos.
On November 16, 2000 the House of Representatives approved the amendment of the existing legislation allowing EAC to expand in new activities other than Electricity. Following the Minister’s approval, The Electricity Authority of Cyprus is entitled to conduct activities in areas related to the development and exploitation of its property, installations, electrical network and services in the area of telecommunications, Desalination, Consultancy Services etc.
Area Offices and Customer Service Centres
The EAC Area Offices are situated in Lefkosia, Lemesos, Larnaka and Pafos districts. EAC Area Office in Lefkosia (Lefkosia – Kerynia - Morfou Area Office) is situated at 15 Photi Pitta Street and is responsible and services all the customers/ consumers of Lefkosia, Kerynia and Morphou Districts. The Area Office in Lemesos is situated at 55 Agiou Andreou street and is responsible and services all customers/consumers of the district of Lemesos. The Area Office in Larnaka (Ammochostos-Larnaka Area office) is situated on 57 Constandinou Paleologou Street, in Larnaka and is responsible and services all customers/consumers of Ammochostos and Larnaka districts. Similarly the Area Office in Pafos is situated at 87 Elephtheriou Venizelou Avenue, and is responsible for all the customer/consumers of Pafos District.
All Areas have stores where the construction materials, transformers, control/ protection gear, cables, conductors etc are stored. At the areas Stores the stand-by Gangs are also housed, for taking care of the faults/repair work on the electrical network.
Apart from the Area Offices in the main towns, there are also seven Customer Service Centres, which are functioning successfully. The three are under the responsibility of the Lefkosia – Kerynia - Morfou Area Office and are located in Pedoulas, Kakopetria and at the Head Office building (Amphipoleos 11). Two of them are under the responsibility of Lemesos Area Office and are located in Platres and at 4 Sotiri Tofini Street, Agios Athanasios. The remaining two customer service Centres operate, one in Paralimni under the responsibility of the Ammochostos-Larnaka Area Office and one in Polis Chrysochous under the resposibility of the Pafos Area Office.
Area Offices and Customer Service Centres
For more information please contact the following numbers:
Lefkosia-Kerynia -Morfou Area Office
Lemesos Area Office
Ammochostos-Larnaca Area Office
Pafos Area Office
Strovolos Customer Service Center
Kakopetria Customer Service Center
22922417 & 22923197
Pedoulas Customer Service Center
Linopetra Customer Service Center
Platres Customer Service Center
Paralimni Customer Service Center
Polis Chrysochous Customer Service Center