Smart meters UK: EIB invests £190m in infrastructure

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UK telecoms company Arqiva has received a GBP190 million injection from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support investment in national communication infrastructure projects, including the rollout of smart meters across northern England and Scotland as well as digital radio and WiFi connectivity.

Arqiva, which provides infrastructure and broadcast transmission facilities in the UK and Ireland, said the money would be used to improve the “reliability and security of the UK’s infrastructure, which is core to our ability to meet the increasing demands of digital connectivity”, said Phil Moses, CFO of Arqiva.

Jonathan Taylor, vice president at the European Investment Bank, said “investment in the latest transmission equipment will help reduce energy bills through national use of smart meters and enable dedicated communications for specialist users”.

Over the past five years EIB has provided more than EUR 2 billion in long-term loans to support investment in improved communications infrastructure included communications related investment covering wireless broadband, fixed and mobile telecommunications, research and development and information technology.

Smart meters installation

In other UK smart meter news, Energy Assets Group (EAG) and Smart Metering Systems (SMS) have signed new contracts with British Gas.

EAG said it has signed a strategic agreement to install advanced meters for around 50 per cent of British Gas Industrial and Commercial customers across the UK.

Under the terms of the deal the independent provider of industrial and commercial gas metering services will undertake all project management activity and provide a web-based customer interface via its ‘TEAMS’ project management platform.

The agreement will also provide visibility and control through the end to end electronic data, asset management, audit and control platform.

“The British Gas meters will have a 20 year contracted term which allows for an annual RPI price adjustment and provides opportunity for significant future growth to the Energy Assets long-term recurring revenue portfolio,” said EAG in a statement.

Meanwhile, SMS said it has been awarded a new contract to install and maintain around 50 per cent of British Gas’s portfolio of gas meter points following a tender process.

SMS will replace existing diaphragm and pulse output gas meters with Elster meters, which have an integrated data communications system. It will also install its ADM solution – which allows “smart” functions such as remote reading and half hourly consumption data – for British Gas customers to both existing and exchanged rotary and turbine gas meters.

SMS expect to finish the rollout by 2017.