ADB Funds Smart Electricity Meters to Boost Energy Efficiency in Uzbekistan

News Release | 20 September 2011

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is financing 'smart' electricity meters for Uzbekistan to help the energy-intensive Central Asian nation use its power resources more efficiently.

The ADB Board of Directors has approved a loan of $150 million for the Advanced Electricity Metering Project. It will fund the installation of modern, accurate, theft-proof digital meters for one million residential and small commercial power users in the cities of Bukhara, Jizzakh and Samarkand. The meters will operate using an automated management system that will allow the utility company to reduce power losses and increase revenues.

"The advanced metering system will help to substantially reduce commercial and tariff collection losses for residential and small business customers by ensuring that energy used is properly accounted for and billed," said Rune Stroem, Director of the Energy Division of ADB's Central and West Asia Department. "The impact of this will be greater energy efficiency and a more financially viable power sector for Uzbekistan."

Uzbekistan has one of the highest electricity consumption per gross domestic product in the world but it suffers from heavy transmission and distribution losses, with state-owned power utility, Uzbekenergo, estimating total losses of around 20%, nearly four times the levels seen in advanced countries. Most electricity meters are old, unreliable, and easy to tamper with.

The new meters employ a 'smart' two-way communication technology that gives customers more frequent and detailed information on usage. Smart metering allows the utility company to remotely read meters, and detect commercial losses. It also provides accurate information for load management to improve its operation.

The project will also fund skills training for Uzbekenergo staff to install the meters and run the system, along with an information component to make the public aware of the new meters and the billing system.

The loan, from ordinary capital resources, has a 25-year term with a grace period of 5 years and annual interest determined in accordance with ADB's LIBOR-based lending facility. The Government of Uzbekistan and Uzbekenergo will provide counterpart funds of $50 million for a total project cost of $200 million. Uzbekenergo will carry out the project which is due for completion in December 2014.