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Meet the Customer Engagement Group

Following an extensive recruitment process led by the Group’s Chair, John Howard, the CEG will meet monthly, working alongside senior managers and directors to scrutinise the development of our next business plan.

Find out more about our diverse and highly-experienced CEG members...

John Howard (Chair)

John Howard, has had a distinguished 19-year career in regulated industries and consumer affairs. Following 20 years as an award-winning consumer journalist with the BBC, John was appointed as a non-executive director at Ofgem, where he was a member of Ofgem’s RIIO-ED1 Price Control Committee.

At Ofgem, John was a member of the RIIO-ED1 Price Control Committee and also a member of the 2015 Challenge Panel, tasked with investigating standards of conduct for suppliers in the retail energy market.

John has considerable knowledge in chairing high profile panels and groups, chairing the Financial Conduct Authority's financial services consumer panel, as well as the Transparency Task Force, which is a worldwide organisation pressing for greater openness in financial services.

Since 2010, John has also been an independent consultant, advising clients on regulation in financial services and energy, recently working with water companies to help navigate the PR19 price control process.

Andy Billcliff MIET

Andy brings over 40 years’ experience in power plant development construction and operation. Starting in Barrow-in-Furness building nuclear submarines, Andy then joined the Merchant Navy as a marine engineer. In the CEGB and successor companies he gained experiencve in thermal, hydro, marine and wind generation before heading up the UK Hydropower business for RWE Innogy as director. Building over 20 embedded hydropower schemes predominantly in Scotland. Andy also operated the UK’s first commercial offshore wind farm ‘North Hoyle’ along with Innogy’s onshore wind fleet and hydropower assets. Responsibilities included Health & Safety, Environment, P&L, business planning and delivery of construction projects and power derived revenues.

Andy is currently construction and operations advisor to the MD of the Morlais Tidal Energy project, and a member of the Grwp Llandrillo Menai, corporation board, one of the largest and most successful FE colleges in Wales. Andy has recently taken on the role of Director for Menter Mon, a community interest company and continues as a director of the British Hydropower Association and Operations Director of North Wales Tidal Energy (and coastal protection) Limited.

Chris Clark

Chris graduated from University in 2001 with a degree in Building Services Engineering and started his career as a Mechanical and Electrical consultant engineer for a leading engineering practice in Glasgow before then becoming an area sales manager for a national air handling manufacturer. 

In 2011, Chris started the Renewable division within The Emtec Group, which has went on to become one of the UKs largest commercial Solar Contracting business, having delivered some of the largest commercial rooftop projects in the country as well as various battery and large scale heat pump solutions.

Having won various innovation awards such as Sustainable Scotland Award 2016 (Green Energy Awards) and Best C&I Solar and Storage Award 2017 (Solar power Portal) Emtec Energy consider themselves at the forefront of the renewable Energy industry, particularly relating to innovation.

Being an active member in the industry, Chris joined the Solar Trade Association (STA) in 2014 and subsequently became its chair of the Scottish branch in 2017 and now sits on the STA UK board.

Having spoken publicly around the frustrations the industry feels in relation to grid availability, calculation methodology and connected and contracted capacity, Chris has been challenging the DNOs for many years to remove barriers of deployment for embedded generation, particularly at distribution level.

Matthew Cole

Matthew is an independent consultant working in and around the energy industry to help companies identify – and then essentially deliver – great but also innovative and unique outcomes for some of their most vulnerable customers.  And then importantly to use this to both raise their profile and change perceptions.  Previously Matt was responsible for npower’s home and small business response to evolving public policy plus defining and commissioning services to support npower customers most in need.

A policy-geek at heart and a change manager by training, over the last few years, Matt redefined npower's charitable projects and partnerships, generating greater business buy-in and advocacy by aligning them alongside the company’s main business activities. Recently two key initiatives, the Fuel Bank® (a project with the Trussell Trust to tackle the ‘heat or eat’ choice that some families have to make) and npower's Macmillan Fund have won prestigious awards recognising both their innovative nature and the positive outcomes delivered for clients.

Recently Matt established the independent Fuel Bank Foundation to provide additional support to families living without heat or power, using the lived experience of the 250k people helped to date to influence and shape government policy, and to drive a renewed focus on delivering great customer outcomes back across the energy industry.

Sam Ghibaldan

Sam has considerable experience in strategy, government, consumer advocacy and utilities regulation. He is currently Director of the Customer Forum, helping put the interests of customers and communities at the heart of the long-term Strategic Review of Scottish Water, and a member of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board. Previously he was Head of the Consumer Futures Unit, working with government, regulators and business in the energy, water and postal industries, to design policy and practice around consumers’ needs and aspirations. He has also worked in corporate affairs roles in start-up tidal power companies and as a political commentator on broadcast and in print media.

As Senior Special Adviser in the Scottish Government between 1999 and 2007, he headed the adviser teams of successive Deputy First Ministers, negotiating, developing and implementing the coalition’s strategy and policy. Prior to that he worked in a corporate communications consultancy, on the successful Scottish devolution referendum campaign in 1997, and as a researcher in the House of Commons.

Dr Matthew Hannon

Matthew works as Director of Research and Senior Lecturer at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, within the University of Strathclyde’s Business School. His research examines the policy and market conditions necessary to accelerate low-carbon energy technology and business model innovation. He is a co-investigator on UKRI’s £10m EnergyREV consortium on smart, locally led energy systems, and the UK Energy Research Centre’s Community Energy Finance project.

Matthew has published ‘Financial Times 50’ ranked journal papers, written a book on accelerating low-carbon innovation, as well as commentary for national newspapers (e.g. i news) and reports for the World Energy Council. His work has received international prizes, been referenced in Parliamentary reports and covered by mainstream media (e.g. BBC, Forbes). He is a visiting researcher at Imperial College London, council member of the British Institute for Energy Economics, trustee of environmental charity South Seeds and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Teresa Perchard

Teresa Perchard has more than 30 years’ experience of consumer affairs policy and advocacy in a number of markets. This includes working in both the Office of Water Services and the Office of Rail Regulation and as Director of Policy and Advocacy at Citizens Advice. Teresa now holds a number of non-executive and advisory roles concerned with consumer protection and regulation.  These include board member of the Utility Regulator for Northern Ireland (since 2013), Council member of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers in England and Wales (since 2014) and Chair of the Affinity Water Customer Challenge Group (since 2016). 

She is also Chair of the Fairbanking Foundation charity.  Between 2005 - 2015 she was Vice-Chair of the UK Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group (England).  She was a member of the Smart Energy GB board between 2013 and 2016, and Consumer Champion for CIGA (the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency) between 2015 and 2018.

Benny Talbot

Benny is fascinated by the interface between new technology and the people it is designed to serve. He currently works as the Innovation Manager for Community Energy Scotland, where he leverages graduate qualifications in both history and electrical engineering to pilot community-led business models harnessing low carbon technology.

After six years of working with community owned renewable generators across Scotland, Benny has a firm understanding of both the challenges created by the rapid decarbonisation of our distribution grid, and the potential solutions emerging from smart technology embodied in the DSO transition.

Specialising in local supply, energy flexibility and community engagement, Benny has worked in partnership with DNOs, local authorities, electricity suppliers and technology companies to trial many of these emerging solutions. Key positions have included technical lead for the Scottish Government funded ACCESS and Tower Power innovation trials. Benny’s current work includes collaborating to design and deliver the Community Energy Futures programme, providing ongoing support to community groups on the opportunities presented by our changing energy system.

Benny aims to provide a voice on the Customer Engagement Group for community-led projects and smaller scale renewable energy generators, as well as contributing his own knowledge of innovation and accessible communications.

Professor Janette Webb

Janette Webb is Edinburgh University Professor of Sociology, Co-Director of the UK Energy Research Centre, and member of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Energy Scientific Advisory Committee.

Her research concerns European policy and practice for sustainable heat and low energy buildings. She has a working knowledge of UK local and regional energy and climate initiatives, and collaborates in capacity building with local authorities, central and devolved governments and expert practitioners. She has received research funding from UKRI Energy Programme, Energy Technologies Institute, Energy Systems Catapult and Scottish Government.

Her research contributes to policy: she is a commissioner for the Infrastructure Commission for Scotland; has advised Scottish Government on Fuel Poverty, Low Carbon Infrastructure and the Climate Change Plan. She is a member of UK Government BEIS research evaluation group, and Adviser to UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Prospering from the Energy Revolution.

She chaired the UK Committee on Climate Change 2016 Advisory Group on Energy Efficiency and Heat. Her research contributed to UK Government 2013 Heat Strategy, and to UK Government Treasury 2015 Green Book Guidance on Valuing Infrastructure Spend. She was Non-Executive Director, and Sustainability Lead, NHS Health Scotland 2003-11 and founder member of NHS Scotland Sustainable Health Network.


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