Greek power distribution operator gets 150 million euro EIB loan for smart meters

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek power grid operator HEDNO has secured a 150 million euro ($160.23 million) loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to install 3.12 million smart meters, the first stage of a plan to upgrade Greece's distribution network, HEDNO and EIB said on Tuesday.

The long-delayed investment will allow HEDNO, which is majority owned by Power Public Corp. (PPC), to offer real-time information to end customers, will facilitate energy savings and support demand response, said a joint statement by EIB and HEDNO.

Greece already covers about half of its electricity needs with solar, wind and hydroelectric power and aims to increase that share to 80% by 2030.

Smart meters will be key in the country's pursuit to improve network reliability, harness solar and wind energy potential and help Europe built a greener economy.

"Our homes, places of work, and other buildings are among the main emitters of CO2, partially because of inefficient electricity use," Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB, said in the statement.

"Smart meters like the ones that HEDNO is installing, will play an important role in increasing energy efficiency and preventing waste," he added.

The Greek project is estimated to cost a total of 546 million euros and will also get 273 million euros in financing from Europe's Recovery and Resilience fund, the statement said.

EIB has provided more than €4.3 billion in energy investment in Greece over the last decade.

($1 = 0.9362 euros)

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)