Russia: Far East Distribution Company receives funding for smart metering

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Russian electricity distributor Far East Distribution Company (FEDC) is to receive funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for a large scale smart metering program, as well as a new grid management and control system modernization.

The funding, part of a RUB4.4 billion loan (US$133 million), is aimed to fund a much needed modernization of the power infrastructure in the Russian Far East – a region badly hit by massive flooding last summer – and reduce losses.

Upgrading its metering system is a priority for FEDC because existing meters are inaccurate and easy to tamper with, an EBRD statement says. They are to be replaced by some 65,000 modern electronic meters that can be monitored remotely and used to cut off electricity.

Improved metering systems should also lead to greater energy efficiency as consumers realize the full value of what they are consuming.

FEDC owns low and medium voltage electricity distribution networks in the Russian Far East whose transmission lines exceed 100,000 km in length.

The worst flood on record forced the evacuation of some 170,000 inhabitants of the Russian Far East last August and damaged more than 300 of FEDC’s transformer substations in the region.

The funding to JSC RusHydro, the second largest hydro power generator in the world which indirectly controls FEDC, is the Bank’s first power distribution project in Russia.