Belgrade, Serbia — (METERING.COM) — September 3, 2010 – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has awarded a €40 million sovereign loan to the Serbian state owned power utility Elektroprivreda Srbije (EPS) to upgrade the electricity system and install smart meters.
Due to years of underinvestment and the use of outdated technology, EPS continues to face a high level of electricity losses in its distribution network and difficulties in collecting bills. The energy and carbon intensities of the Serbian economy are more than twice the EU average.
The proceeds of the EBRD loan will be used to purchase and install modern smart electricity meters for end-users, as well as to implement the associated infrastructure and software required to manage the new system.
The project will enable EPS to reduce significantly the level of electricity losses in its network, increase bill collection levels and raise the company’s overall operational efficiency. These improvements will also begin the transformation of EPS’s network into a modern smart grid and will reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 200,000 tonnes annually.
“This project will enable EPS to improve significantly its day to day operations, and to reduce its costs of operation,” commented Dragomir Markovic, general manager of EPS, adding: “In the long term EPS plans to replicate this project by installing smart meters throughout the distribution network.”
The EBRD loan is complemented by technical assistance financing from the Spanish government and from the Bank’s Western Balkans Fund.
The project, with a total cost of €80 million, is expected to be co-financed by a parallel loan from the European Investment Bank.
EPS services almost 3.5 million customers.