Secure Meters has signed a £150 million deal to supply its Liberty 100 smart meter solution to Utilita, the UK’s leading prepay supplier and the first supplier to use smart meters in this market sector. In a 3-way deal, which also involves Northern Powergrid (NPG) a major funder of metering assets in the UK, the contract will deliver 600 000 meters to support the growth of Utilita over the next 5 years.
Utilita Energy is the leading provider of prepayment energy and was the first supplier to use smart meters to dramatically reduce costs and improve service levels. Previously, prepayment customers have been exposed to higher prices than households that have the means to pay by direct debit. The combination of meter technology and a low cost support service has enabled Utilita to provide energy cheaper than its competitors with unparalleled convenience to customers.
Bill Bullen, CEO of Utilita, commented ‘We are a prepayment specialist supplier serving customers in the lowest income segments with smart meters since 2009 and have been deploying SMETS-1 compliant meters since October 2013. Northern Powergrid’s meter asset provision contract provides us the ability to grow confidently over the next five years; serving our customers with the compelling proposition of cheap dual fuel energy and great convenience. In concluding this transaction Northern Powergrid have not only shown a great understanding of our unique business model but have also exhibited their commitment to the social segment from which our customers are drawn. Secure’s SMETS 1 meters and the supporting SMSO service not only help us keep our energy prices low, they also allows us to provide the excellent service our customers deserve.’
As a meter asset provider, Northern Powergrid Metering Limited understands the value in Secures’ smart meters with their supporting SMSO service, and as a consequence have placed multiple contracts with Secure across their range of products. In creating long-term partnerships, real value can be delivered to a previously disadvantaged segment of the UK market. Utilising Secure metering products, the cost for prepayment energy consumers can be dramatically reduced whilst at the same time enabling energy efficiency through smart technology.
Northern Powergrid Metering Limited’s Harvey Jones (head of metering) explains ‘This contract is an important landmark for Northern Powergrid Metering Limited. We are particularly proud to work in partnership with Utilita and Secure in bringing the benefits of smart metering to UK energy customers. Northern Powergrid Metering Limited can bring many years of experience in meter rental to bear in developing a long-standing partnership with both Utilita and Secure. We believe our funding flexibility will be an ideal complement to Utilita as an innovative energy supplier. It is particularly pleasing to note that Utilita serves the most economically challenged segment of society by providing flexible and pioneering ways for customers to manage their energy bills.’
This transaction is for the provision of Secure’s 2nd generation designs of smart metering equipment for Great Britain. Utilising the experience from the large number of 1st generation smart meters already installed, Secure has optimised this set of products in all areas. In development of the new generation of Secure meters, particular focus has been targeted in ensuring compliance to the UK SMETS 1 smart metering standard, developing in-home display functionality and the ease of installation. Secure’s long-term collaboration with an innovative energy supplier such as Utilita has meant that real user experience has gone into the design and is reflected in all of its new products.
Secure’s Business Development Director, Kaushak Patel summed up by saying ‘Utilita Energy, as an independent pre-payment dual fuel specialist energy supplier, has pioneered pre-payment in Britain and proved that smart meters, correctly deployed are good for their business. The Secretary of State for DECC, Mr Edward Davey, earlier this year challenged the industry to do more with smart metering for prepayment customers; we are proud to be the only meter manufacturer actively operating in the prepayment segment today. For energy suppliers, our fast meter installation and our SMSO service together achieve a very low lifetime cost. Now with the addition of Northern Powergrid Metering Limited to this collaboration Utilita will be able to provide the UK’s energy consumers with a real value proposition without having to pay a premium for the privilege.’
Each of the three companies are looking forward to the opportunities that have been created as a result of this transaction and for the wider smart meter rollout in the UK.