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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 has had a distinguished 20-year career in regulated industries and consumer affairs. A qualified solicitor who joined the BBC becoming an award-winning consumer journalist. He has been a member of the Board of Energywatch and was non-executive director at Ofgem for nine years. During that time, he was a member of the RIIO-ED1 Price Control Committee and member of the 2015 Challenge Panel.

John has considerable knowledge in chairing high profile panels and groups, chairing the Financial Conduct Authority's Consumer Panel, as well as the Transparency Task Force. He was Vice Chair of the Family Building Society and independent member of both the Independent Governance Committee and the With Profits Committee of Scottish Widows. He has also been a non-executive director of the Financial Services Ombudsman and a Trustee of the Thalidomide Trust.

John is presently a director of Banking Competition Remedies Ltd and an independent consultant advising clients on regulation in financial services, energy and water.

As chair of the CEG, John ensures wholly independent challenge, ensuring high standards of consumer and stakeholder engagement have been carried out to fully inform our business plans in the fairest and broadest way. John is passionate about ensuring the best outcomes are delivered for consumers, and how the transition to a zero-carbon economy is fair for everyone and that our approach protects both vulnerable and fuel poor customers.  

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 experience 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, a Director of Menter Mon, is the Technical Director of the ‘Morlais’ tidal energy project and is responsible for a portfolio containing Wind, Solar and Hydrogen interests and is working to secure ‘local ownership’ of renewable energy generation projects in North West Wales. Andy is also a member of the Grwp Llandrillo Menai Corporation Board, one of the largest and most successful FE colleges in Wales 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 gone on to become one of the UKs largest commercial Solar Contracting businesses, 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 consumer champion 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. Matt passionate that to make Net Zero a reality, customers have to be surprised and delighted by the services and support that the energy industry can deliver.

Previously Matt was responsible for npower’s home and small business response to evolving public policy plus led npower’s work to deliver better outcome for customers, including defining and commissioning services to support those customers most in need. A policy-geek at heart, 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, winning prestigious awards recognising both their innovative nature and the positive outcomes delivered for clients.

Matt leads the independent Fuel Bank Foundation, a charity he established to provide financial support and practical advice to families living without heat or power, using the lived experience of the 450k 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. Matt is also the Independent Chair of the Energy Switch Guarantee, a industry trust mark developed to remove consumer barriers to switching between energy tariffs or suppliers, representing 90% of the energy market.  

Sam Ghibaldan

Sam has considerable experience in strategy, government, consumer advocacy and utilities regulation. He is currently Director of the Customer Forum at the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, currently on secondment as the Programme Director leading the establishment of Consumer Scotland. Until recently a member of the Scottish Energy Advisory Board, he was previously Head of the Consumer Futures Unit, working with government, regulators and business 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 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 a Senior Lecturer at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, Strathclyde Business School. His research examines the business models, policies and technologies necessary to accelerate the transition to a socially equitable, net-zero economy. He is a co-investigator on UKRI’s £10m EnergyREV consortium on smart, locally led energy systems, and the UK Energy Research Centre’s ‘Whole Person - Whole Place’ net-zero neighbourhood solutions project.

Matthew has published in ‘Financial Times 50’ ranked journals and co-authored two books on innovation to accelerate the energy revolution. He has written reports on behalf of the World Energy Council and been cited in government and parliamentary reports. His work has enjoyed extensive media coverage (e.g. BBC, Forbes), and he has also provided commentary for national media outlets like the i newspaper and The Conversation.

As well as sitting on USwitch’s Green Tariff Accreditation Panel, he is a council member of the British Institute of Energy Economics, chair and trustee of the community energy charity South Seeds and an Honorary Member of the Green Angel Syndicate. Finally, he is co-founder and host of the Local Zero podcast, which champions local action to tackle climate change and profiled as the Times Pod of the Week.  

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 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, Consumer Champion for CIGA (the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency) between 2015 and 2018 and Chair of the Affinity Water Customer Challenge Group between 2016 and 2020.  

Benny Talbot

Benny Talbot is passionate about the interface between technology and the people it is designed to serve. For the last 7 years he has worked for Community Energy Scotland (CES), where he has gained a firm understanding of both the technological and social challenges created by the rapid decarbonisation of our distribution grid, and the potential solutions emerging via new business models and digital technology.

As innovation Manager at CES, he has worked extensively with Scottish communities, DNOs, local authorities, electricity suppliers and technology companies to trial the solutions emerging at the cutting edge of the DSO transition. This has included experience in live trials of domestic flexibility, aggregation, local supply, local flexibility markets, and whole system hydrogen economies.

Benny also boasts first class qualifications in history and electrical engineering and has previously worked in community education, for the University of Edinburgh, and as an independent energy consultant.

Alongside his experience in energy innovation, Benny hopes to bring to the Consumer Engagement Group an understanding of the views and needs of the many smaller scale energy businesses and community-led projects which so often find participation in regulated engagement difficult due to their limited size and resources.  

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.

In October 2020, it was announced that Jan is to receive an MBE in recognition of her services to the energy transition in the UK.  

Cllr Gill Wood

Gill WoodCouncillor Gill Wood has been working for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority for over two years as Deputy Portfolio Holder for Low Carbon & Renewable Energy.

She is also a Clean Growth Champion for Growth Platform, Liverpool City Region's economic enabler, designed to generate growth and opportunities to support people & businesses to help them realise their true potential. 

Andrew Wright

andrew_wright.jpgAndrew is an independent energy consultant and former Senior Partner in Energy Systems at Ofgem, the gas and electricity regulator for Great Britain.

Andrew, a Durham graduate, has 30 years of experience of the gas and electricity sector. Before joining Ofgem he was a senior equity research analyst covering UK and European utilities for a number of major investment banks, including, most recently, UBS.

Andrew worked in the electricity industry during its privatisation, spending six years with Manweb, the regional electricity company, in a variety of management and strategic roles.

After graduating in Physics from Durham, Andrew went to Cranfield University, where he wrote his PhD thesis on the statistical modelling of soil erosion. He then worked as post-doctoral research associate in the Energy Research Group at Cambridge University and, later, as an energy sector consultant. More recently Andrew was made a Professor in Practice at Durham University  

Jennifer Pride

Jennifer Pride.jpgJennifer Pride has led in a number of roles in Welsh Government including climate change, sustainable development, resource efficiency and distributed generation. She now leads on energy delivery, focusing on enabling the low carbon distributed energy system in Wales.

Before joining Welsh Government, Jennifer had a varied career including retail management, running her own SME, risk management consultancy, and military service. 

David Flynn

d-flynnProf. David Flynn is a Professor of Smart Systems at Heriot-Watt University. David is the founder of the Smart Systems Group (SSG) at Heriot-Watt University, Associate Director of the UKs National Centre for Energy Systems Integration and Centre for Doctoral Training in Embedded Intelligence.

David’s research relates to the role of cyber physical systems for resilient critical infrastructure and complex systems. He is the academic lead of the whole system demonstrator project Responsive Flexibility (ReFLEX), and over the past 15 years has secured £150M in research funding as PI and Co-I.

David has published over 160 conference and journal publications, secured several international patents and been the recipient of national and international awards. His degrees include a BEng (Hons), 1st Class in Electrical and Electronic Engineering (2002), an MSc (Distinction) in Microsystems (2003) and a PhD in Microscale Magnetic Components (2007), from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. David is the Vice Chair of IET Scotland and an Associate Editor of IEEE Access.  

Kankana Dubey

d-flynnKankana is a senior researcher at the Centre for Energy Policy while pursuing her doctoral studies in Politics within the School of Government & Public Policy at the University of Strathclyde. She holds an MSc in Energy Management from the University of Stirling. Kankana is an experienced researcher with interests spanning many aspects of energy generation and consumption, economic diversification, energy productivity, and socioeconomic well-being. She has published several articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and book chapters, and presented her work at several international forums.

Kankana has authored reports on Gender Equality in Energy Transition and Natural Resources Management for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). She is also the author and lead researcher for the second edition of the World Green Economy Report (under publication), highlighting green job opportunities and relevant financial instruments to mobilize green finance. Kankana has extensive professional energy-sector experience in business development, renewable energy consulting, energy efficiency, and sustainability. She is an active member of the UNECE Joint Task Force on Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings, and the Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency.  

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