Vilnius – On 23 September Ignitis Grupė signed the contract with the European Investment Bank (EIB) for the loan of EUR 110 million which will be used by Energijos skirstymo operatorius (ESO) to implement an IT solution for smart meters and their data collection and management.The loan duration fixed in the contract is up to 16 years. No additional measures that would guarantee performance of additional obligations (guarantees, securities, mortgage, etc.) are provided in this contract.
We are happy that EIB has offered the conditions that satisfy the needs of Ignitis Grupe group of companies the best and that it is already the third project of the group that is financed through successful cooperation with EIB. We have already signed the contracts with EIB for the loan of EUR 190 million intended to finance construction works of Vilniaus kogeneracinė jėgainė in Vilnius and for granting the loan of 258 million zloty to Pomerania Wind Farm sp. z o. o. intended to finance the park of wind power plants that is developed in Poland,says Darius Kašauskas, the Director of Finance and Treasury at Ignitis Grupė.
This operation gives off an important signal about the energy market in the Baltics, namely that investments are shifting from a focus on security of supply towards energy efficiency. This is good news and very important in terms of our collective commitment to the Paris agreement. Climate change won’t stop if we don’t act, and in that context every initiative to limit our energy consumption is a big help,says EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros.
During the first stage of installation of smart meters starting next year, ESO is planning till the end of 2023 replace approx. 1.2 million units of smart meters in Lithuania, starting with users, who use the biggest share of energy. The procurement of smart metering infrastructure is under implementation now. The competitive dialogue with potential suppliers is going on.
COVID-19 pandemic also affects this procurement, so some stages last longer and than planned before the pandemic. The restrictions applied in various places also affect the process.
ESO finished the qualification screening of suppliers of the procurement of smart metering infrastructure in February 2020. It was one of the most important stages in the procurement process, when the suppliers, who satisfy most the qualification and who are experienced in similar projects in other countries, were selected. In final stage selected supplier will have to provide not only smart meters but also IT solutions for collection and management of meters’ data and communication infrastructure.
When implementing further actions in the procurement process, the selected tenderers were introduced to comprehensive technical specifications. The suppliers have already submitted the primary tenders and at present the competitive dialogue with potential suppliers is going on. They will be able to submit final tenders for procurement later and the most economically beneficial tender will win.
The installation of smart meters is provided in the National Energy Independence Strategy approved by the Lithuanian Parliament in 2018. The National Energy Regulatory Council approved the planned investments of EUR 147 million in September 2019 and emphasized that the benefit brought by smart accounting will exceed the expenses spent on its implementation.
The smart meters scheduled for installation by ESO for 2021 will enable competition in the market, which will encourage developing new services. In the first stage smart meters will be installed for the users, who use more than 1,000 kWh electricity per year. At the same time, new meters will become a tool that will enable consumers to analyse and save, while ESO will be able to identify and fix the problems quicker. It is planned to finish first stage installation of smart meters (started with the largest users) until the end of 2023. The second stage will start in 2024 and the meters will be replaced for the users, whose metrological inspection deadline will be matured.