Albania-to-invest-US50m-in-electricity-distribution

Albania-to-invest-US50m-in-electricity-distributionIn Southeastern Europe, Albania's state energy distribution company announced this week that it plans to invest more than US$50 million in 2015 in its electricity distribution network.

Adrian Cela, administrator of Albanian Energy Distribution Network Operator, commented that upgrades to the electrical network aimed to improve the quality of electricity supply and reduce technical losses.

Mr Cela said that the distribution company had worked with state police and government to stem the flow of losses from the energy sector.

He said: "Collection of total monthly bills has reached 87%, a 10% increase on the previous year.

"The combatting of theft of energy has translated into the reduction of the level of losses, and in the increase of collection."

Albania's pledge to invest in electrical distribution was given global coverage by Chinese state-run news agency, Xinhua.

In December 2014, Premier Li Keqiang of China met with Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania in Belgrade.

The two held talks relating to promoting ways for Chinese businesses to invest in key infrastructure projects in the Southeastern European country, according to local media.

Advanced metering investment

Mr Rama also suggested that the country is looking to invest in advanced metering to ensure that customers only pay for electricity they have used.

Smart metering in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is predicted to reach an cumulative US$10.3 billion by 2023, according to data from US research company Northeast Group.

However, as Albania has yet to join the European Union it does not have to consider a mandated rollout as part of the EU 2020 target to cut energy consumption and thereby carbon emissions.

Reform of energy regulator

Meanwhile, in other Southeastern European news, Bulgaria's state-controlled energy regulator DKEVR could be divided into two subcommittees, one on energy and one on water, under a new bill approved by a Parliament Committee on Tuesday.

Under the new draft legislation, sessions of its members held weekly, usually behind closed doors, will become entirely open to public if the bill is passed.

This follows DKEVR having been at the center of various scandals involving the price of electricity and management of Bulgaria's energy mix, which is suggested as one of the main reasons why the state utility National Electricity Company's has debts worth hundreds of millions of Bulgarian Lev.