ESB receives €150m loan for national smart meter roll-out

1 Sep 2020

Image: © Gina Sanders/

By the end of 2020, ESB hopes to have replaced 200,000 traditional electricity meters with new smart meters.

On Friday (28 August), the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a loan facility to support the roll-out of 2.4m smart meters to every home, farm and business in Ireland by the end of 2024.

The EIB has agreed to provide €150m to support ESB Networks’ national smart metering programme, which is a key element of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, and support Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon electricity network.

ESB’s plan aims to deliver benefits to customers, the economy and the environment. The new €150m loan from the EIB will span 15 years and will support the first phase of the roll-out programme, which began in Cork, Laois and Kildare last year.

By the end of 2020, it is envisaged that 200,000 meters in Ireland will have been replaced with smart meters and approximately 500,000 meters will be replaced in each of the four years after that. From 2021, electricity supply companies will be able to offer new smart services to customers with the new meters.

‘High-impact climate investment’

Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, said: “Ensuring continued climate action investment is essential for Ireland to contribute to tackling the global climate emergency.

“The EIB’s support for 70m smart meters across Europe has shown how new technology enables homeowners to use energy in a smarter way, save money on electricity bills and reduce their impact on the environment. The EIB is a key partner for long-term investment in Ireland and I look forward to ensuring that the EIB, as Europe’s climate bank, continues to increase support for high-impact climate investment in this country.”

According to the EIB, some of the benefits of the new meters include more accurate billing, which reduces the need for manual meter readings and estimated bills. The meters also give users greater access to information on energy usage and more control over energy consumption, and have the potential to improve customer services by allowing ESB to find faults quicker and manage the network more efficiently.

Pat O’Doherty, chief executive of ESB, described the roll-out as an “important enabler” of the national Climate Action Plan and a “big investment in Ireland’s transition to a low-carbon future”.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic