Evolving with precision: A history of innovation in electric meter solutions

17 April 2024

Electric and gas meters have been a cornerstone of energy management for decades, providing essential data for consumption tracking and billing. With two decades of in-depth experience in the metering industry, Macquarie has solidified its position as a key player in the market, adapting to industry shifts, technological advancements and changing regulatory landscapes.

The ongoing rollout of smart meters in Great Britain is a crucial enabler of more efficient energy networks. Giving consumers and businesses real-time access to their energy usage data not only allows them to make more informed decisions about their energy consumption, but can help them take steps to change their habits and behaviour - potentially saving money and lowering their carbon emissions1.

Smart meters can also be paired with energy networks called smart grids, which automatically monitor energy flows and can adjust to changes in energy supply and demand2. This ability to respond to changing energy demand means smart meters play an important role in accelerating the transition to variable renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydrogen3.

In 2008, the British Government introduced its intention to mandate energy suppliers to install smart meters. A few years later in 2011, the smart meter rollout programme was introduced, which has since become part of the Energy Act 2023. The legislation seeks to replace traditional analogue electricity and gas meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain by 20284. Macquarie has played a pivotal role in supporting energy providers transition to smart meters over this time, to date providing over £1.5 billion of funding to both growing and leading energy suppliers.

Collaboration within the industry is essential to achieve a clean, equitable and cost-effective energy system for both consumers and suppliers.” 

Julian Liddy
Head of Meters
Macquarie’s Specialised and Asset Finance division

Now marking its 20th anniversary in the meters business, Macquarie has grown to become one of the largest independent meter asset providers in Great Britain, with over 10 million meters owned and managed, out of which just under 8 million are smart meters.5

“In our first year of operation in 2003, we had three people working from a small office in Claydon, Suffolk. Our first transaction was with one of the largest energy companies in Great Britain, funding their traditional domestic meters,” recalls Julian Liddy, Head of Meters in Macquarie’s Specialised and Asset Finance division.

“We saw an opportunity to support the industry in a profound way, which is why we established our ISO accredited Meter Asset Processing facility, where we have since processed over 4.3 million meters6. We also co-founded the Community of Meter Asset Providers (CMAP), which operates as a forum for topics impacting meter asset providers,” says Liddy.

“With a transition of this magnitude, energy suppliers need support in all areas. Our understanding of the industry and technology and experience of the regulatory environment has allowed us to lead the rollout of smart meters across the country. Collaboration within the industry is essential to achieve a clean, equitable and cost-effective energy system for both consumers and suppliers.”

The smart behind the meters

Smart meters track electricity or gas consumption in the same way as traditional meters but have two-way communication capabilities that allow consumers to get real-time data of their energy usage on an In-Home Display. Additionally, they can receive remote updates such as tariff charges and payment preferences, resulting in improved operational efficiency for suppliers.

Consumers benefit from more accessible information, greater convenience and saved time as there’s no need for manual meter readings or interventions, and more accurate electricity and gas bills. With real-time feedback on energy consumption, consumers can save energy and aim to lower their bills by adapting their energy usage to different energy prices throughout the day.

The first generation of smart meters were SMETS1 (Smart Metering Equipment Technical Specification) meters.

“SMETS1 meters were fitted with the same type of SIM card that you could find in a mobile phone, and they communicated through the mobile network. In 2018, the second generation of smart meters was introduced, named SMETS2. They operate in a similar way, but the updated software offers enhanced functionality,” says Neil Denley, Managing Director in Macquarie’s Specialised and Asset Finance division.

The nationwide adoption of smart meters is not only enabling consumers to optimise present energy usage but also architecting a tomorrow where flexibility, accessibility and cost-effectiveness are the cornerstones of Great Britain’s future energy market.” 

Neil Denley
Managing Director
Macquarie’s Specialised and Asset Finance division

The wider impact

The Energy Act 2023 and the rollout of smart meters is a strategic step towards Great Britain achieving net zero by 2050.

“The volatility of gas markets and dependence on fossil fuels brings uncertainty to energy suppliers and consumers. We’re seeing how the transition towards smart grids will eventually increase investments in clean energy technologies and not only give us more security, but also support the creation of skilled jobs," says Denley.

Macquarie’s purpose is to empower people to innovate and invest in a way that helps achieve our shared potential and our role in the rollout of smart meters is a great example of that.” 

Neil Denley
Managing Director
Macquarie’s Specialised and Asset Finance division

“We’re excited to see the transformative potential of smart meters and grids as a gateway to clean energy. At an organisational level, we’ve been advancing solutions to climate challenge for two decades and our commitment to providing reliability and certainty in this ever-changing environment is now more important than ever, as we step into the next era of smarter and cleaner energy.”

Evolving markets

Learn more about how Specialised and Asset Finance is supporting the shift to smarter energy metering assets in an ever-changing and challenging environment.

  1. Ofgem, Smart meter transition and the Data Communications Company (DCC) –
  2. European Commission, Smart grids and meters –
  3. Herbert Smith Freehills, Financing the Energy Transition – The role of smart meters, 22 Feb 2023 –
  4. UK Parliament, Update on the rollout of smart meters, 20 October 2023 –; The Government Digital Service, New laws passed to bolster energy security and deliver net zero, 26 October 2023 –; Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Energy Security Bill Policy Statement, August 2022 –
  5. As at 1 February 2024.
  6. As at September 2023.
  7. National Audit Office, Rolling Out Smart Meters, 23 November 2018 –