Stakeholder focussed plan

Posted on: 16/12/2019

In an era where trust in large institutions is at an all-time low, it’s never been more important for businesses to engage with the communities they operate within.

The impending gas network regulatory price control comes at a pivotal time in the energy industry, with considerable challenge for the gas industry in achieving UK decarbonisation targets. .  To inform their plans, Wales & West Utilities have been listening to and gathering the views of their customers and stakeholders over the last 18 months.

Working in partnership with a range of organisations, alongside analysis of 1.5 million pieces of internal customer data, the company has more insight than ever before on what people want from their gas network.

A core focus of the Customer Engagement Group (CEG) is to make sure the business is accountable to their customers and stakeholders.  So, we are scrutinising their plans, taking a detailed look at their engagement activities, and critically, examining their plans to act on the feedback they are gathering.

In December the business submitted its final plan to the regulator, Ofgem.  As well as demonstrating their enhanced engagement activities, the business must show its commitment to continue this work.  Ensuring stakeholder feedback is fully embedded in business decision making for the long term and benefiting the services they provide.

The CEG must submit an independent report alongside the business plan, providing scrutiny on a range of issues, whilst making sure the voice of the stakeholders they serve is well represented.

Members of the CEG are drawn from a diverse range of backgrounds, with experience in the private, public and charitable sector. With voices from business, interest groups and academia, and of course, from both England and Wales.  This means we are well placed to comment on the company’s plans, while balancing the needs of the wide range of customers and stakeholders.  

Working closely with the business, delving into key aspects of the plan and asking detailed questions, we now nearing the end of a long and detailed process.  Next steps include Ofgem’s feedback on the plan during 2020.  The price control is effective from April 2021.

Dr Mike Brooker

Chair of our Customer Engagement group, advocate for consumers and more than 30 years’ experience in the utilities industry.