Britain’s biggest DNO has sold off its smart metering division to facilities provider Stark for an undisclosed sum. The deal rationalises the pair’s 15 years of operational partnership.
Serving over 8 million customers and employing 6,500, Western Power Distribution was itself acquired last year by National Grid for £7.8 billion.
Stark will retain WPD Smart Metering’s current employees, and integrating them into its other activities.
Privately held Stark has been on the acquisition trail in recent years. Recent additions include Stark Technical Services in 2017, Stark Utility Funding in 2018 and Squire Energy in 2019. Later this year the group will launch internationally in Dubai.
The combine was set up in 1981 by data engineers Howard Stark and Angela Hauser. It claims to be “the UK’s partner of choice for energy services”. It processes data reporting over 18 % of the UK’s daily electricity transactions and monitors almost 250,000 sites worldwide.
“We were not looking to sell the business”, admitted Roger Sparks, Managing Director of WPD Smart Metering, “but when we were approached by Stark it presented a fantastic opportunity for all parties.
“WPD is extremely proud”, Sparks continued, “of the smart metering team which has played a key role in our company’s success over many years and consistently delivered exceptional service for its customers.
“Stark and WPD Smart Metering have worked together for more than 15 years, and we share a common ethos and set of values. We are therefore confident that this presents an excellent opportunity for the WPD Smart Metering team to continue its growth within a business focussed solely on building a market leading, non-domestic, electricity metering service.”
A Stark spokesperson was unable to provide numbers of meter points covered in the deal, or their split between first and second generation smart meters.
Stark Group CEO Alex Warren enthused: “We have had a great working partnership over the last 15 years. This is a natural evolution”.
New investment, aimed at improving the data experience of Stark’s customers, would result, Warren promised.
A WPD spokesperson said it had no plans for other sales.
“WPD is extremely proud of the Smart Metering team which has played a key role in our company’s success over many years and consistently delivered exceptional service for its customers”, the spokesperson added.
Stark claims that by bringing expertise in best-in-class non-domestic electricity metering under its own roof, and rationalising it on a single platform, it will reinforce its position as the UK’s service champion in non-domestic energy data.