Meter firm plugs into new premises

Leader of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Anne Western, and Tim Houtby, Managing Director of Meter Provida, cut the first sod at the latest premises being built at Markham Vale. Also pictured: (left to right) Stephen Burr, Finance Director of Meter Provida, Ben Ward, Director of Henry Boot Developments, Peter Storey, Head of Markham Vale, and Derbyshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure Coun Dean Collins.
Leader of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Anne Western, and Tim Houtby, Managing Director of Meter Provida, cut the first sod at the latest premises being built at Markham Vale. Also pictured: (left to right) Stephen Burr, Finance Director of Meter Provida, Ben Ward, Director of Henry Boot Developments, Peter Storey, Head of Markham Vale, and Derbyshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Infrastructure Coun Dean Collins.
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Every house in the country - all 50m of them - is set to get ‘smart’ gas and electricity meters from next year - handing a Chesterfield company its biggest ever opportunity.

Meter Provida is planning for massive growth when the five-year Government-backed scheme launches.

It comes after the company expanded rapidly on the back of a similar scheme in the commercial and industrial sector.

It has just signed a multi-million pound deal to move into purpose-built premises on Markham Vale Business Park at Junction 29A of the M1.

Managing director Tim Houtby said: “The smart meter roll out programme could have a phenomenal effect on our business. It’s a huge opportunity, it’s the biggest single change in the UK utility sector ever.”

Meter Provida supplies devices and stock control services to energy suppliers and installation companies.

It has gone from £18m to £38m turnover in the last five years and today employs 49. Now, smart metering in homes could see turnover more than double to £75m by April 2017, Tim Houtby said.

The firm’s new premises will be on a 2.2 acre plot at Markham Vale West, built by and leased from Sheffield construction company Henry Boot. It is set to complete in November and create up to 10 jobs.

Tim Houtby said the new premises would be bigger, but not too far from their existing base at Broombank Business Park, Sheepbridge, to retain as many staff as possible.

The M1 location and the 15-year deal with Boot, which includes an option to buy, also played a part, he added.

“We’re a distribution business essentially, but utility metering gets fairly technical and we’ve got a lot of people who have been with us for a number of years who we don’t want to lose.”

Ben Ward, of Henry Boot, said seven firms had signed up to Markham Vale in the last year including AW Repairs, Holdsworth Foods, Ready Egg, Great Bear, Inspirepac and Gould Alloys.

He added: “Other interest is now likely to follow.”

The 70-acre Markham Vale North will be ready in summer, he added.