Porto Alegre, Brazil --- (METERING.COM) --- February 20, 2012 - The state distribution company of Brazil’s Rio Grande do Sul state, Companhia Estadual de Distribuição de Energia Elétrica (CEEE-D), has been awarded a $131 million loan by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) towards the automation and modernization of its electricity distribution system.

In addition CEEE-D will provide $87 million to the initiative, named Pro-Energy RS Distribution (Pró-Energia RS Distribuição), bringing the total investment to $218 million.

The general objectives of the initiative are to expand and modernize the electricity distribution system in CEEE-D’s concession area, which includes the state’s capital Porto Alegre, and to modernize the company’s information and management systems. Specific objectives include meeting current and future demand, improving the reliability and quality of service, and reducing losses, as well as contributing to the company's financial recovery.

According to data from the Brazilian National System Operator (ONS), the demand for electricity in the area served by CEEE-D has increased at approximately 3.2 percent annually in recent years, a trend that is set to continue. Further, with Porto Alegre one of the 2014 World Cup host cities, demand is expected to be strong in that year.

The initiative, which will cover the high and medium voltage systems, will involve the construction and expansion of substations, the replacement and installation of substation control and protection equipment, including remote control and supervision systems, automatic reclosers, switches and capacitor banks, and the construction and expansion of sub-transmission lines.

“These funds will allow us to achieve a set of important works to improve service delivery and energy supply, given also the extra demand for an event the size of the World Cup,” said Sérgio Souza Dias, president of the CEEE group.

The work will start this year and be completed in 2014.