Enel, the second-largest generating company in Iberia, said that it will invest $5bn toward digitising its asset base, operations and processes in the next two years.According to the utility’s CEO, Francesco Starace, Enel has “outperformed on the targets we had set, so we are now in a position to take our strategy to the next level a year early."
This includes the addition of two new growth areas to its existing strategy: digitization and customer focus, said the company. [China, Italy and France vie for stake in Greek electricity grid]
A release states that Enel’s initial plan for 2016-19 targeted an increase in operational activity, industrial growth and an asset disposal program, among other financial targets.
The company reported that its efficiency drive has reduced cash costs by 10% since 2015. In terms of growth, Enel has already met 90% of its targeted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) growth for 2017.
Furthermore, Enel plans to increase its efficiency savings target by Eur500 million, due to a reduction in operational expenditure and increased efficiency from the new digitization program, while it said it would increase its asset sale target to Eur8 billion.
The utility’s asset digitisation plan is expected to drive an increase in investments in networks and retail, primarily smart meters, remote-control systems, connectivity of equipment, as well as investments towards digitizing customer engagement and promoting a more digitally oriented workforce.
The number of installed smart meters is expected to increase to more than 48 million by the addition of 18 million new meters over the period, including 12 million replacements, while end-users are expected to increase by 2 million reaching 64 million in 2019.
Elsewhere, Enel said it would focus its industrial growth strategy on growing its networks and installing renewable capacity.
Enel smart meters
In related news, Italy’s National Regulatory Authority for Energy ANRE has given Enel permission to install an additional 110,000 smart meters as part of a pilot in Romania. [Enel to install 110,000 additional smart meters in Romania]
A local Romanian subsidiary of the Italian utility company installed smart meters for more than 30,000 clients last year.
Enel is said to have plans to install similar meters for all 2.7 million clients in Romania, paving the way for larger smart cities and infrastructure.
Georgios Stassis, country manager Enel in Romania, said: “As the needs of clients evolve through the introduction of smart home appliances and distributed generation, which helps them become small energy producers, the installation of smart meters will become even more important.”
The smart meters are also purposed to pinpoint areas that have significant issues with power outages and where further investment is needed.
Enel will add 53,000 smart meters in the Muntenia region, while in Dobrogea and Banat regions it will install 28,000 and 30,000, respectively.