Asian Development Bank (ADB) has granted $750m to upgrade power distribution networks in Azerbaijan in order to enable the country to provide more reliable electricity supplies.

Planned to be funded in three tranches of $250m each, the loan facility will be used to rehabilitate distribution network substations and lines, replace current low quality customer service lines and install modern, tamper-proof smart meters.

Additionally, the loan will be used to finance training and other support to improve the financial management and operational performance of the state owned company Azerishiq Open Joint-Stock Company (OJSC).

ADB Central and West Asia Department director general Sean O'Sullivan said: “This ADB program will help address the bottleneck in electricity supply and provide round-the-clock and reliable electricity to households and entities in secondary cities and rural areas in Azerbaijan.

“It will also help promote inclusive economic growth, foster new business opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises, and reduce urban-rural income disparities.”

The investment is expected to support the government’s efforts to provide sufficient and reliable electricity supply while achieving efficient use of energy resources.

The government is also planning to develop and implement an energy sector financial recovery plan in order to boost the financial performance and sustainability of the sector.

The multitranche facility is expected to complete by end December 2022, with the first tranche investment activities scheduled to run from mid-2016 to the end of 2018.