Business energy supplier BES Utilities has acquired metering, asset and management company Access Install.

As a result BES has now launched its own specialist metering service division, BES Metering Services, with all 80 employees of Access transferring to the Lancashire-based BES Group.

Access was acquired for an undisclosed sum and, BES says, a further seven figure investment in the operation is planned.

The company is also looking to create “at least” 20 new jobs by expanding the number of metering engineers employed.

BES co-founder and chair Andy Pilley said: “We are delighted to announce the launch of BES Metering Services which is a very important development for both the company and our customers.

“Through this acquisition we now have our very own dedicated metering installation and servicing company and the importance of this cannot be over-stated.

“By combining this new internal capability with the services of our existing trusted partners we will improve the speed and reliability of metering appointments as well as access to the latest metering technologies and that is great news for customers.

“On top of this, having our own metering business demonstrates our commitment towards meeting the government’s smart meter rollout target.”

BES recently cut electricity bills for thousands of its customers by an average of 10.28 per cent.

Figures released earlier this week by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show that in the first quarter of 2019 installation rates for the devices have continued to drop.

From January to the end of March, just over a million smart meters were installed by large energy suppliers, split between 457,900 for gas and 573,700 for electricity.

This represents a 6.7 per cent decrease from the last quarter, and a 17 per cent drop from the installation rate during this quarter in 2018.