First EUR 500m tranche of loan to the Enel Group signed. The EU bank will support the investments covering the period 2017-2021.

E-distribuzione's plan to replace digital meters in Italy is fully supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has approved total financing of EUR 1bn for the operation. A first tranche of EUR 500m was signed today in the presence of Dario Scannapieco, EIB Vice-President, Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel S.p.A., the company that provided security for the loan, and Gianluigi Fioriti, CEO of e-distribuzione. 

The loan beneficiary is e-distribuzione, the Enel Group's electricity distributor with responsibility for installing the new “Open Meter”. The EIB will contribute to financing part of the plan’s investments over the period 2017-2021. Overall, the 15-year plan provides for the installation of some 41 million new generation 2.0 meters, of which around 32 million will replace the current first-generation meters, while the remainder will be used for new connections and customer requests.

“This operation further strengthens our relationship with the Enel Group, with which we have worked for many years in all sectors of the business from the upgrading of power plants to the power distribution grid to new projects in the field of alternative energy sources. Fifteen years ago we also supported the programme to install the first-generation digital meters”, said EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco.

“These second-generation electronic meters will open up a world of possibilities and services to houses, firms, offices and shopping centres, combining consumer protection with technological innovation. This represents a genuine leap in performance, which will place Italy at the cutting edge of electricity distribution worldwide. This is a major investment project, involving 250 Italian firms and 4 000 technical staff for the installation work alone”, stated Enel CEO Francesco Starace.

Energy distributors must replace the meters currently in use with new generation meters in order to adopt smart measurement systems that meet EU energy efficiency requirements (Directive 2012/27/EU transposed into Italian law by Legislative Decree 102/2014).

The energy scenario in recent years has highlighted the importance of timely management of additional, more detailed information that can benefit both electricity operators and their customers. The Open Meter technology will help to promote energy efficiency, enhance awareness of consumer behaviour, encourage competition in meter-related services and develop the home automation market.

e-distribuzione's project has been recognised as a project of common interest (PCI) by the European Union and it comes under the EIB's financing priorities in the fields of energy, climate action and support for Convergence areas since 40% of the meters will be located in the less economically advanced regions of southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia.