The European Investment Bank (EIB) has offered €1bn for e-distribuzione, the electricity distributor of Enel Group, to replace digital meters in Italy.

A first tranche of EUR 500m was signed today in the presence ofDario Scannapieco, EIB Vice-President, Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel, the company that provided security for the loan, and Gianluigi Fioriti, CEO of e-distribuzione. 

As part of its plans, e-distribuzione will install the new “Open Meter”. The EIB will contribute to financing part of the plan’s investments over the period 2017-2021. 

The Open Meter technology will increase energy efficiency, enhance awareness of consumer behaviour, encourage competition in meter-related services and develop the home automation market.

Around 41m second generation 2.0 meters will be installed in the 15 year plan, out of which 32m digital meters will replace the first generation meters and the remaining meters will be utilized for customer requests and new connections.

Energy distributors will install the second generation meters to satisfy the EU energy efficiency requirements by adopting to smart measurement systems.

Enel CEO Francesco Starace said: “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.”

EIB vice president Dario Scannapieco said: “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.”