The upgrade will be required to improve the delivery of power needed to fuel the country’s fast growing economy.

The multi-tranche loan facility for the power transmission investment program has been approved by ADB’s Board of Directors with a first payment of $120.5m.

Scope of work involves construction of about 648km of 500kV lines and over 100km of 220kV lines, while upgrading associated substations.

Funds for the project will also be used to provide training and other support to the state-owned National Power Transmission Corporation.

ADB energy division for Southeast Asia, energy specialist, Daniela Schmidt said the proportion of people without electricity will increase, and economic growth would be negatively affected without the removal of these transmission bottlenecks.

"These network upgrades will increase power availability by reducing transmission system losses and other problems that are currently plaguing the system" added Schmidt.

The investment program supports improvements expected to help boost per capita electricity consumption from 985 kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2010 to approximately 3,800 kWh in 2025.

ADB funds are expected to be released in four tranches, with the first loan from ordinary capital resources having a 25-year term.

The program is due for completion by June 2020.