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Northern Powergrid calls for customer engagement to help transform grid

Image: Northern Powergrid.

Image: Northern Powergrid.

Northern Powergrid has launched the second stage of its Emerging Thinking project, looking to give a voice to customers about grid developments.

The distribution network operator (DNO) has launched an interactive microsite to gather insight into virtual business propositions, outlined in its Emerging Thinking – Supporting Material document. This breaks down aspects of running a power network into 12 core areas, including net zero, environmental impact and health and safety.

Customers will be able to use the microsite and the supporting material to comment and respond to the different options facing the DNO.

Phil Jones, Northern Powergrid’s president and CEO, said there were some “very important choices” to be made.

“As we consider the options, we need to hear from our customers and stakeholders so we can deliver a plan that reflects their needs and the needs of the wider communities we serve. For example, it’s clear that we have a vital role to play in meeting net zero by 2050, but that still leaves open a wide range of options about what this actually looks like.

“We are embarking on a significant engagement campaign that will see opportunities for every corner of our communities to have their say.”

The responses submitted on the microsite will build on the engagement it has had with stakeholders on its ‘Emerging Thinking – Building our plan for 2023-2028’ business plan. Northern Powergrid released the plan in August, as part of a wider engagement campaign designed to run over the next 12 months, before its plans will be formally submitted to Ofgem for the ED2 price control regulatory period from 2023-2028 (RIIO ED2).

Customers will be invited to engage with the DNO over social media and in Zoom events as well as on the site, choosing different fully costed and detailed service options that will inform the company on regional priorities against the backdrop of net zero, Brexit and the COVID-19 recovery.

Patrick Erwin, Northern Powergrid’s policy and market director and executive lead for stakeholder relations, said: “This is a coordinated and tiered approach that gives our customers multiple ways and choices to interact so they can do so in the way they want to.

“We recognise that some stakeholders will want to go through the microsite or join one of our dedicated regional roundtables to give detailed consultation. Others may only want to take part in a Twitter poll, simple survey or engage with a 30 second video. All forms of engagement are valuable to us and will help us shape our plans to reflect customers’ aspirations.

“We hope our approach maximises the opportunities for our customers to have their say and will provide rich and informed results to help set the direction and pace needed to address climate change, affordability and other stakeholder priorities.”

For more information, see Northern Powergrid’s microsite.

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