An independent group of energy industry experts created by electricity network operator SP Energy Networks (SPEN) to bring the voice of customers and stakeholders into the heart of its business has marked its first anniversary.
Members of the Independent Net Zero Advirsory Council (INZAC). From Left to Right; Matthew Cole, Dan Thomas, Martin Kearns, Rob Cormie, Janet Wood, Dr Jamie Stewart, Angela Love, Prof. Jianzhong Wu, Kate Martin Bruintjes, Prof. David Flynn, Ashleye Gunn.
The Independent Net Zero Advisory Council (INZAC) brings together 15 external experts to provide challenge and specialist knowledge to both the distribution and the transmission sides of the business across Central and Southern Scotland, North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and North Shropshire - a first for the industry. Ofgem recognises that this ‘whole system’ approach of working across network boundaries is to the benefit of customers.
With a wealth of experience and expertise from across the energy industry and beyond, the INZAC has a critical role in overseeing and challenging SPEN’s efforts to enable the path to Net Zero for the customers and communities it serves.
Key highlights of its first year include:
- Visiting various Transmission and Distribution operational sites both in Scotland and the Manweb licence area in Liverpool
- Regular meetings with senior members of SPEN, to fully understand the strategic challenges faced by the business and wider industry to deliver Net Zero, both from a Technical perspective and with a Customer focus.
- Extensive feedback and recommendations made to SPEN for consideration.
Looking ahead, the INZAC will have a vital part to play in the development of SPEN’s RIIO-T3 price control business plans for the high voltage transmission network between 2026-2031, scrutinising both the technical plans as well as ensuring any emerging consumer issues are fully considered.
The INZAC is chaired by renowned industry expert, Angela Love, who has over 30 years’ experience of the UK/EU gas and electricity markets. Angela sits on a number of industry bodies including regulator Ofgem’s Stakeholder Engagement and Customer Vulnerability Panel for ED1 and was recently appointed as Chair of Cadent Gas’ Customer Challenge Group.
She said: “It’s been fantastic to assemble such an exceptional and diverse range of voices to provide insight and constructive challenge to SP Energy Networks as it develops and delivers on its business plans for both the transmission and distribution electricity networks of the future.
“We’re at a really exciting and crucial time for the energy networks industry and it’s vital that companies get it right as they develop innovative solutions and technologies to support more green electricity coming on the grid and help deliver on Net Zero ambitions.
“We’ve made a really good start in our first year and I have no doubt the INZAC will play an increasingly valuable role in the months and years ahead – not just for SP Energy Networks, but for the customers, stakeholders and communities it serves. And that’s exactly what we’re here to do.”
SP Energy Networks CEO, Vicky Kelsall said: “Creating the INZAC was a pivotal moment for our business and testament to our commitment to supporting the wider energy transition on our journey to a greener future. Its ability to question and challenge will help drive meaningful change that will ultimately benefit everyone as we work to deliver a just transition to Net Zero.
“The INZAC is a key component of our broader stakeholder engagement programme, providing transparency and improving decision-making. And we have committed to giving the group the access, knowledge and insight it needs to challenge us and make recommendations at every level of the business – from the Executive team to our engineering and customer facing teams.
“We can already see the positive impact working with the INZAC is having on our business – and will continue to have on our performance and delivery of RIIO2 commitments and developing our plans for RIIO3 and beyond.”