Meet our members – Andrew Mackintosh, Eastern CEG member and Customer Working Group member

There are many reasons that I joined the Customer Engagement Group (CEG) to help review how UK Power Networks has taken account of the needs and priorities of customers in its business plan for 2023-28.

Firstly, I’ve lived in the East of England all of my adult life despite spending most of the recent years working in London, the north of England and in Wales. This has, however, given me a great opportunity to compare the services we receive in the region to those enjoyed elsewhere – and I’m therefore looking forward to working to ensure UK Power Networks performs as the leading DNO in the services they provide.

UK Power Networks offers some of those services. It is relatively unknown to many of those living in the region, yet it plays an essential role in maintaining the lifestyles and prosperity of all those living and working in the East of England licence area – an area that stretches from North London to Lincolnshire and from the Norfolk coast to Oxfordshire. UK Power Networks plays an important role in keeping the lights on.

The main reason I joined was to make sure all types of customer in the region get the best possible service at the right price. That doesn’t mean at the cheapest price, as UK Power Networks will need to fund significant improvements over the 5 year investment period, but it does mean doing that in a way that achieves best value to customers. It should be remembered that UK Power Networks is a relatively small part of an electricity bill, but an important part.

There is an extensive range of expertise in the wider CEG. We will be reviewing UK Power Networks’ business plan to ensure they have considered the diverse needs of their customers in their planned approach for maintaining the existing infrastructure, minimising power cuts, improving instalment times and looking after vulnerable customers, as well as their approach for tackling the significant challenges that lie ahead. The government’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 will be highly challenging for all businesses and we aim to ensure that UK Power Networks is able to plan, fund and achieve all the targets it needs to in the run up to 2028 – when their 5 year business plan will be completed – in the right way and at the right price for customers.

In order to achieve this, UK Power Networks will need to ensure customers are fully engaged in the development of their plan over the next 2 years. How many of us will want to have charging points for electric vehicles? Will there be enough electricity at the right time to charge the car? These, and many other questions, will need to be discussed, reviewed, planned for and funded in the business plan period.

This will involve extensive research for UK Power Networks as it will need to understand the views of all the different types of customer we have in the region. As a customer too, I don’t only want what’s best for me, my friends, family and neighbours, I want what’s best for all customers in the region.