ScottishPower is to invest £341 million on rolling out smart energy meters to more than five million home across the UK.
The Glasgow-based group, owned by Spanish utility giant Iberdrola, said contractors Actavo, Amey, LowriBeck and Providor will help with the roll-out over the next four years as the firm replaces traditional energy meters.
Actavo said its contract would see the firm create 230 jobs in Scotland to supply about 780,000 meters to homes across the Central Belt.
ScottishPower said 100,000 of the smart devices have already been installed, mainly in the homes of customers who have been with it for at least two years. It now expects to be putting up to 2,000 meters in place each day across Scotland, England and Wales by 2020.
Chief corporate officer Keith Anderson said: “ScottishPower is well on course to invest over £1.8 billion this year, and digital innovation is a key part of our long-term business objectives.
“Smart metering will revolutionise the way our customers consume and monitor their own energy use, empowering them to make real behaviour changes and identify savings.”
He added: “This contract award is a significant moment for ScottishPower in the delivery of smart meters for millions of people across the UK. There is a significant challenge to support climate change targets and we are determined to offer all our customers a smart meter by the end of 2020, meeting the UK government’s deadline.
“It is crucial however that the significant investment we are making is supported by the government-appointed Data Communications Company, which has been tasked with delivering the necessary infrastructure for the new meters on time and to scope, enabling them to operate effectively across the energy market.”
The smart meter contracts were announced as Iberdrola said its net profits rose 6.4 per cent to €2bn (£1.8bn) for the first nine months of the year, as lower operating and financial costs offset a 9.1 per cent slide in revenues to €21.5bn.
At its UK generation and supply arm, underlying pre-tax profits increased by 2.6 per cent to £187.1m, helped by lower operating expenses linked to the closure earlier this year of the Longannet coal-fired power station in Fife. Earnings at its retail business fell £17m, with the decline blamed on milder weather and higher non-energy costs.
ScottishPower Renewables saw its underlying earnings plunge by 28.6 per cent to £156.9m after a sharp reduction in output during the first half of the year.
The division is currently investing more than £650m on the construction of eight onshore wind projects on six sites across Scotland. Once completed, they will generate 474 megawatts of electricity, bringing the company’s UK wind energy capacity to more than 2 gigawatts.