In a groundbreaking move for the energy industry, two network operators from opposite ends of the country have collaborated on how to best help vulnerable customers and support Net Zero.
Electricity North West and UK Power Networks have been thinking outside the box, and sharing best practice to solve key challenges that they have in common. The networks are now calling on other utilities and regulated industries to take the same collaborative approach in the interests of customers. They have written to Ofgem and Citizens Advice and received a positive response.
The two firms’ new level of collaboration, with a signed formal agreement, reflects the magnitude of the shared challenges the energy distribution industry faces, which increases the potential benefits of working together. Sharing good practice can benefit customers nationally and pool resources to maximise efficiency and reach.
Successes so far include:
- UK Power Networks mirroring Electricity North West’s self-serve ‘flexibility revenue calculator’ to easily show potential participants what they could earn
- Electricity North West is replicating how UK Power Networks’ can quickly provide customers with times and areas, if there is ever a need for emergency planned power cuts, nationally
- Designing consistent ways to calculate benefits delivered to customers in fuel poverty, to enable ongoing benchmarking, and improvements
Electricity North West’s customer service and connections director Stephanie Trubshaw said: “We’ve been talking openly, in the spirit of improving services for all customers and reducing the impact on their lives.
“The more we share and the more we collaborate means the more customers will benefit as we learn and develop even quicker.
“Collaboration, along with the application of a clear and consistent measurement and reporting framework, are key components to Distribution Network Operators outperforming our regulatory commitments and driving greater value to customers.”
UK Power Networks’ director of customer service and innovation, Ian Cameron added: “There really has been a step change in collaboration between network operators this year. In these tough times where customers need support more than ever, it is critical we remove historic competition in areas where greater societal value can be unlocked faster by working as a team.
“We have worked most closely with Electricity North West, who share our appetite to collaborate at pace. Our shared view is that collaboration is not always easy and our work as a DNO community is far from done. However our vision is that by the end of 2028 the DNO community will have embedded best practice sharing and collaboration with one another, as the default and everyone will be equal-effort contributors to this mission.”