EBRD brings efficiency to Montenegrin energy sector

By Viktorija Melohina

EBRD brings efficiency to Montenegrin energy sector

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is investing in further upgrades for the energy sector in Montenegro through a €30 million loan extension provided to Elektroprivreda Crne Gore AD Nikšić (EPCG), the country’s main electricity provider, for further installation of smart electricity meters throughout the power distribution grid.

Montenegro has the potential to be a regional energy hub, but it still suffers from high commercial and technical losses, such as distribution losses and a low revenue collection rate. Modernisation of the distribution grid is a strategic priority for the EBRD’s work in the country, as Montenegro adapts to the requirements set out by the European Union.

In 2010 the EBRD signed the original loan of €35 million to fund a €43 million project to introduce over 175,000 smart electricity meters. To date, 164,000 of these have been installed. The original project has already proved highly effective at improving energy efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions; as a result, distribution efficiency and accountability for consumption revenues have increased.

Following this success, EPCG requested an additional EBRD loan to finance the purchase and installation of further smart meters across the rest of the country.

EPCG is the sole electricity generation, distribution and supply company in Montenegro. In 2009 a major strategic investor – Italian utility company A2A – acquired 43.7 per cent of the company and took on a significant role in its management. The Montenegrin government remains the majority owner of EPCG.

“Investing in smart metering and implementing smart grids are key priorities for the EBRD. This project will improve energy efficiency and reduce losses. It is also evidence of the EBRD’s sustained engagement with the Montenegrin power sector, with EPCG, and with the Italian utility A2A,” said Riccardo Puliti, EBRD Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources.

EPCG’s CEO, Stefano Pastori, commented: “As a result of this project the majority of consumers in Montenegro will be switched over to smart electronic meters. This will make Montenegro as a European leader in the move to smart metering and the implementation of smart grids”.

To date the EBRD has invested more than €396 million in 38 projects across Montenegro, generating business of more than €600 million.