Meet the SSEN Customer Engagement Group

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN), the electricity distribution network operator for the north of Scotland and central southern England, is working on its five-year business plan for the RIIO-ED2 period that will run from 2023 to 2028.

An independently-chaired Customer Engagement Group (CEG) has been established to review and scrutinise SSEN’s business plan as it develops, prior to its submission in 2021.

The focus of the CEG is to provide independent and robust challenge to the network operator and advise the regulator, Ofgem, on whether SSEN’s plan meets the needs of current and future customers

About the group

The focus of the Customer Engagement Group is to provide independent challenge and rigour so that customer and stakeholder needs and preferences are fully reflected in SSEN’s RIIO-ED2 business plan.  To do this, group members have been recruited from a broad range of disciplines and specialisms, ensuring that this external lens can be applied to all parts of the plan.

The group is chaired by Tracey Matthews, an experienced executive with significant experience of business planning, operations management and business transformation in the utilities industry.  Tracey leads a diverse CEG membership group, representing network stakeholders, consumers, energy users, and those with a specialist interest in the development and transition of the electricity distribution network in SSEN’s regions.

Tracey became the chair of the Customer Engagement Group in August 2019 following a year as Independent Chair of the SSEN RIIO-T2 User Group

Tracey Matthews (Chair)

Tracey is an independent consultant specialising in business transformation in the energy, transport and utility sectors for blue chip organisations. Tracey is currently Chairperson of AGT Ltd and Deputy Chairman of the UK Rail Regulator. Her appointment follows a successful year as Independent Chair of SSEN Transmission’s RIIO-T2 User Group, providing input and robust challenge to SSEN’s published plans for the future of the north of Scotland electricity transmission system. In her role as Chair of the RIIO-ED2 CEG, Tracey will lead fellow members of the CEG, representing network stakeholders, consumers, energy users, and include those with a specialist interest in the development and transition of the electricity distribution network in central southern England and the north of Scotland.

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Helen Fleming

Helen spent over 20 years as a civil servant in various government departments, with close involvement with the evolution of energy policy as key decisions were made on how energy markets should manage the affordability, environmental and security of supply “trilemma”. She has led a research report on the use of consumer data at the Competition and Markets Authority and was the director of corporate affairs at the Data and Communications Company – with responsibility for its price control, its licence compliance and its stakeholder relationships, in particular with Ofgem.  She is now an independent consultant.

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Tamar Bourne

Tamar is a senior project manager for Regen, a not-for-profit centre of energy expertise whose mission is to transform the world’s energy systems for a zero carbon future. Tamar leads Regen’s work on smart energy and innovative supply models and works closely with DNOs in developing and delivering innovative projects. Tamar has been a member of the SSEN Stakeholder Advisory Panel since 2017, providing advice and challenge to the board. She also chaired the community subgroup of the government’s Smart Grid Forum. Her background is in sustainability research and project management. Prior to joining Regen, she worked for the Sustainable Development Commission.

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Gareth Spinner

Gareth has worked in the Power Industry for over 30 years helping customers with their utility connections in gas, water and most importantly electricity. He has held a number of very different roles across the power industry, project managing large infrastructure projects in the UK and internationally and working for contractors and asset owning public utilities. Working for two large businesses such as EDF Energy and Balfour Beatty has given him experience of almost every aspect of the industry and allows him to help customers with the many difficulties they may encounter. Gareth is a member of the Critical Friends Panel for UK Power Networks and chairs the panel in London. He is also a regular contributor to magazines and has presented at industry events.

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Ian Pashley

Ian is currently supporting the development of the operation elements of National Grid ESO’s RIIO-2 submission. He started working for National Grid in 1995 after graduating from UMIST with a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. After seven years at the National Electricity Control Centre in Wokingham,  where he undertook a number of roles including the operational planning of the transmission network, operation of the Pool day-ahead generation scheduling process and, later, the development of commercial analysis tools and techniques to assess the New Electricity Trading Arrangements, he moved up to the Midlands to work on the development and procurement of ancillary services from generation and demand to support National Grid’s system operator role.

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Chris Watts

Chris is the Director of Regulatory Affairs at S&C Electric Company, which specializes in the switching, protection and control of electric power systems, and prior to that he worked for Ofgem on a range of areas of network regulation including the RIIO price controls.

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Maxine Frerk

Maxine has a long background in regulation and consumer issues. She spent 15 years in Ofgem most recently as Senior Partner Networks responsible for all aspects of network regulation including RIIO ED1 and a member of Ofgem’s executive board. Earlier in her time at Ofgem she was Head of Consumer Insight and Policy and sat on the Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group. Since leaving Ofgem she has been working as a consultant and thought leader in the energy space. She chairs SGN’s Customer Engagement Group and is an Associate with the environmental charity Sustainability First.

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David Coan

David is a Chartered Electrical Engineer and a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. He has worked in the UK electricity industry for 38 years, almost exclusively with National Grid in electricity transmission, where he undertook a number of roles in the Electricity System Operator function. He has recently spent 2 ½ years working within the Dept of Business and Energy (BEIS) on energy systems resilience and then with Ofgem on Black Start analysis. He has represented National Grid on Entso-e working groups developing the European Codes under the 2nd Electricity Package. He played a lead role in the introduction of NETA and then BETTA for National Grid and in the RIIO-T1 price control submission process.

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Geoff Aitkenhead

Geoff Aitkenhead has a long track record of successful leadership in industry. From 2002 to 2016 he was a member of the Group Board and Executive Leadership Team of Scottish Water, playing a significant leadership role in the remarkable transformation of the water industry in Scotland. During the 2002-16 period Geoff oversaw the successful delivery of c£8 billion of capital projects, accounting for a third of all civil engineering in Scotland. Geoff chaired the Boards of two plc companies established as special purpose vehicles for the delivery of capital investment programmes.

These companies involved a variety of utility, engineering and construction companies as shareholders and delivery partners. He was Chairman of Scottish Water International from 2012 to 2019 and former Chairman of WaterAid (Scotland), an organisation dedicated to the provision of clean water and sanitation in the developing world.

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Andrew McMunnigall

Andrew McMunnigall is a Principal Policy Officer at the Greater London Authority, where he works on behalf of the Mayor to improve how infrastructure is planned and delivered in London. He has a background focused on land use and infrastructure planning for cities. Andrew spent six years working for the New South Wales Government in Australia, before moving to London in 2015. In 2017, Andrew completed a secondment at the National Infrastructure Commission, supporting a study examining how data can transform the performance of the UK’s infrastructure.

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