Enrico Malerba,
Executive Director,
EPCG
 
Podgorica, Montenegro --- (METERING.COM) --- November 29, 2010 - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has awarded a €35 million loan to fund the purchase and installation of smart electricity meters in Montenegro.

The loan, to Elektroprivreda Crne Gore AD Niksic (EPCG), is aimed to help to modernize Montenegro’s power distribution network.

EPCG is the sole electricity generation, distribution and supply company in Montenegro. In the second half of 2009 the Italian utility A2A, acquired 43.7 percent of the company and took on a significant role in its management. The Montenegrin government remains the majority owner of EPCG.

As a result of prolonged under-investment, the company has a high level of losses in the distribution network and a low collection rate. The EBRD loan will help EPCG to address these issues by financing the purchase and installation of 175,000 smart electricity meters throughout the distribution network, as well as the installation of the associated infrastructure.

The project will enable EPCG to improve its overall operational efficiency and cash flow by reducing significantly the level of electricity losses in its network and increasing bill collection levels. These improvements will begin the transformation of EPCG’s network into a modern smart power grid and reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 88,000 tonnes annually.

“This project represents for EPCG a strategic move to improve the service level for our customers and to reduce the losses in the network,” said Enrico Malerba, executive director of EPCG. “Thanks to the support from EBRD, now it can start.”

“The power systems of the future will be built around smart grids where electricity consumption is measured instantaneously throughout the network,” added Nandita Parshad, director of EBRD's Power and Energy team. “We are very happy therefore to support EPCG in a project that will quickly improve its efficiency and cashflow while at the same time transforming Montenegro's infrastructure.”

The EBRD has previously financed similar projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia and Serbia.