- Powerful interactive microsite gives customers a voice on future of energy network that powers their lives.
- Insight on virtual business propositions launched.
- Customers in driving seat to set region’s energy priorities including pace of decarbonisation and support for green economy.
- Tailored engagement approach underlines commitment to open debate and gathering informed feedback.
Northern Powergrid is ensuring its customers have their say on how the distribution network operator (DNO) will help deliver a green recovery, economic growth and power communities across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire from 2023 and beyond.
The electricity network operator is asking customers to be part of its journey to help shape thinking that will lead to future decisions on how it will power the lives of 8 million customers and 3.9 million homes and businesses.
Northern Powergrid has published ‘Emerging Thinking – Supporting Material’ which breaks down the complexities of running a power network into 12 core areas, These include net zero, environmental impact and health and safety – to enable customers of all levels of knowledge to understand and share their views on priority topics. The document outlines potential options on each of the topics and the associated costs – from a reduction in operating cost to deliver the same level of service customers see today, to increases that could see the operator support the UK to decarbonise faster, create more employment opportunities in the communities it serves and radically speed up the timescale in which it reduces its own carbon footprint.
“There are some very important choices to be made in the coming months” explains Phil Jones, Northern Powergrid’s President and CEO. “As we consider the options, we need to hear from our customers and stakeholders so we can deliver a plan that reflects their needs and the needs of the wider communities we serve. For example, it’s clear that we have a vital role to play in meeting net zero by 2050, but that still leaves open a wide range of options about what this actually looks like.
“We are embarking on a significant engagement campaign that will see opportunities for every corner of our communities to have their say.”
Northern Powergrid is publishing the document to provide stakeholders with real information to consider about the future energy network that will power their lives and it builds on the foundations of its ‘Emerging Thinking – Building our plan for 2023-2028’ published in August. It is part of a wider reaching engagement campaign designed to reach tens of thousands of stakeholders in the next 12 months before final plans must be submitted to Ofgem for the ED2 price control regulatory period from 2023-2028 (RIIO ED2).
Customers are now invited to engage at an early stage with plans across multiple channels, from social media and zoom events to a dedicated microsite. Patrick Erwin, Northern Powergrid’s Policy and Market Director and executive lead for stakeholder relations, said: “This is a coordinated and tiered approach that gives our customers multiple ways and choices to interact so they can do so in the way they want to. We recognise that some stakeholders will want to go through the microsite or join one of our dedicated regional roundtables to give detailed consultation. Others may only want to take part in a Twitter poll, simple survey or engage with a 30 second video. All forms of engagement are valuable to us and will help us shape our plans to reflect customers’ aspirations. We hope our approach maximises the opportunities for our customers to have their say and will provide rich and informed results to help set the direction and pace needed to address climate change, affordability and other stakeholder priorities.”
Emerging Thinking - Supporting Material offers fully costed and detailed service level options (from A to E) for customers to choose from or use as a springboard for conversation about regional priorities against the backdrop of net zero targets, Brexit and the COVID-19 recovery.
Patrick reiterated: “We are encouraging informed engagement and the transparent options we present are open to influence from stakeholders. We are very much in listening mode and would encourage people to get involved.”
Through the engagement process, stakeholders from industry experts and politicians to local charities and schools will be asked for their views on topics such as:
- supporting the regional and national economic recovery following COVID-19, ‘building back better’ and enabling a ‘just transition’ to a low carbon economy;
- being a ‘force for good’ in the communities Northern Powergrid serves;
- ensuring that there is collaboration across the whole energy system to deliver cross-sector and wide-ranging benefits to customers;
- ensuring that focus is kept on reliance and reliability of the network to protect customers;
- maintaining a strong commitment to protecting the natural environment;
- continuous improvement in all areas – from network innovation to customer service.