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OTPP, OMERS move in on UK smart meter market

The two Canadian pensions have created companies that will purchase and install at least 2.7 million devices to help with the UK government’s energy efficiency initiative.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System have launched two companies that will take advantage of the UK’s initiative to install smart meters in every home and business by 2020.

Borealis Infrastructure, an investment vehicle for OMERS, OTPP and UK energy company SSE have created MapleCo and SGN Smart to purchase and install smart gas and electricity meters across the UK.

MapleCo will operate as a “meter asset provider”, according to a statement, and has agreed to buy and install 2.7 million devices from SSE. SGN Smart, a subsidiary of SGN, a holding companied owned by Borealis, will provide management services and resources to MapleCo.

SGN Smart director Derrick Allan said his company is looking to add additional meter portfolios as the market develops.

The UK government has set a goal to replace gas and electricity meters with new devices that can better monitor energy consumption, hoping this will lead to customers using electricity more efficiently.

The official smart meter rollout began in November 2016 with estimates that over 50 million new devices needed to be installed, according to UK government statistics. As of January, around 4.89 million smart meters were in use.

Investors have responded to the UK government’s initiative by putting private capital to work to meet the 2020 goal. In December, global investment firm KKR agreed to buy meter provider Calvin Capital, a company that plans to install seven million devices as part of the rollout.