5 August 2010 – The World Bank has recently awarded a grant of $6 million for smart metering and other initiatives in the Republic of Djibouti’s ongoing Power Access and Diversification Project.
The project, which is being undertaken by Electricitè de Djibouti (EDD), is aimed at expanding access to electricity in underserved populations, increasing the reliability of the electricity services, and improving the efficiency of EDD.
The project was initiated in March 2006 with an initial grant of $7 million. This second round of additional financing is to enable the program to be scaled up, with the key components being to further increase access to electricity, in particular in low income neighborhoods, and to reduce distribution losses through metering and distribution line rehabilitation.
The metering component, which is costed at $2 million, will comprise a remote smart metering pilot involving around 5,000 smart meters in a specific supply area characterized by high non technical losses and offering a sample of MV and LV customer types and on selected primary 20 kV distribution feeders.
A prepayment pilot also will be introduced as part of the access expansion element, which will see an extension of the grid in the Balbala area to the west of Djibouti Ville. This extension is expected to facilitate around 3,520 new connections and a subset will be provided with the prepay meters. The majority of the connections, around 70 percent, are expected to be made as “social connections,” which gives the household access to a maximum of 1 kVA of electric capacity, enough to connect a fridge, two ventilators, a TV set and lighting.
According to the World Bank documentation the greater emphasis on loss reduction in this second phase of the project is justified by the large system losses, which have been estimated at around 27 percent in a recent study. Hence, the introduction of smart meters, which will allow for remote connection and disconnection of clients. The meter readings will be sent regularly to an established management unit that will collect this information and manage the smart meter program. The relevant information will be transmitted via existing distribution networks and fiber optic cables.
The document also notes that EDD has indicated that once this first phase of the smart meter program is implemented successfully, donors have expressed an interest in financing a second phase.
“This project fits with broader development strategy for Djibouti and its country assistance strategy,” commented David Craig, World Bank country director for Djibouti. “Continued and enhanced support to the electricity sector in Djibouti is consistent with and necessary to achieving Djibouti’s objectives of sustained growth, in particular by underpinning the performance of its port which is increasingly energy dependent and by meeting rising demand from a rapidly growing urban population.