After lengthy tender procedures, the Electricity Authority (EAC) has awarded the tender for the installation of smart meters to the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), it emerged on Wednesday.

The decision to award the tender for the supply and installation of 400,000 meters was made by the EAC’s new board of directors on Monday, as reported by Phileleftheros.

The installation of smart metering systems, which has been plagued by delays, is a requirement for compliance with recovery and resilience fund (RRF) stipulations, in accordance with a decision taken by the energy regulatory authority (Cera) in 2018.

Cera’s decision six years ago to install the 400,000 meters was supposed to have already commenced with the first phase of installation involving 57,143 meters, to be completed by January 2021. By January 2023, almost 180,000 smart meters were expected to be installed, with a budget of €17 million allocated to the EAC for this phase of the project.

More than one year later, the delayed tender attracted interest from three companies, with Cyta submitting the most expensive offer. However, the EAC committee deemed this proposal the most suitable.

According to the report, the EAC board initially had concerns about Cyta’s legal eligibility to participate, as the services were not solely telecom-related. However, a legal opinion clarified that Cyta was permitted to provide the specific service.

Cyta’s successful bid is expected to cost close to €40 million, while Logicom Solutions LTD proposed almost €33.7 million, and NewCytech Business Solution (a part of the Logicom group) submitted a proposal for €37.6 million.

It is likely that the decision will undergo an appeals process – as happened with the previous tender – for the smart meters, which caused delays.

According to the commitments of the Republic towards the EU for use of RRF, the deal with the supplier of the 400,000 smart meters must be finalised by March 2024. By September the EAC must receive 50,000 meters and install 15,000. By June 2026 all 400,000 meters must be received and 250,000 installations should be completed.

Last May EAC spokeswoman Christina Papadopoulou had said actual installation would not start until June following a one-year survey period, including a brief pilot programme.