EIB funds rollout of smart meters in 300 Belgian cities and municipalities

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In Belgium, Fluvius, a cooperative utility owned by 11 inter-municipal companies, is set to deploy smart meters in 300 cities and municipalities after securing funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The EIB has announced that it will provide Fluvius with a series of funding for the company’s smart meters programme.

The bank has signed for the release of the first tranche of €200 million ($243 million).

The new meters allow for remote readings and make it possible to provide near real-time consumption information to consumers. This will increase consumer awareness of their energy consumption and thus spur energy efficiency. The smart meters also make the grid more flexible, which is essential considering the increasing decentralised production of renewable energy.

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Fluvius will also use the loan to connect new customers to its grid network.

EIB vice-president Kris Peeters said: “Europe’s green and sustainable recovery from the corona crisis will pass through projects like this one. Our houses are one of the main emitters of CO2, partially because of inefficient electricity use. Smart meters like the ones that Fluvius is installing will play an important role in increasing energy efficiency and preventing waste.”

Frank Vanbrabant, CEO of Fluvius, added: “Digital energy meters are crucial in making the energy transition a success. Only with digital meters will families and SMEs be able to actively manage their energy usage. The new meters can help families with solar panels to immediately use their home-generated electricity as much as possible. They also enable dynamic energy prices. As a result, a family can consume more, cheaper electricity by smartly controlling appliances, or storing energy locally, for example in an electric car. In any case, the digital meter is an important gateway to the energy landscape of the future.”

Fluvius is responsible for the construction, management and maintenance of electricity, natural gas, sewerage, cable distribution, and district heating networks in Flanders. The company also maintains the municipal public lighting and manages 230,000 km of utility network with 7 million connections.