Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution has appointed Tracey Barlow as the independent chair of its new RIIO-ED2 Customer Engagement Group (CEG).
As the network operator prepares for the next electricity distribution price control period (RIIO-ED2), from 2023 onwards, the CEG will play a key role in scrutinising and providing independent, expert challenge to the development of SSEN Distribution's business plan, due to be submitted in 2021.
The group is being established as part of the RIIO2 price controls set out by regulator Ofgem to conduct enhanced stakeholder engagement in preparation for the next price control period.
In her role, Barlow (pictured) 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.
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 recently published plans for the future of the north of Scotland electricity transmission system.
Commenting on her appointment, Barlow said: "This is a tremendous opportunity to build a strong consumer focused team to work with the company and provide both challenge and support in developing an ambitious plan for this next period.
"This plan must reflect consumer needs, maximise opportunities arising from the anticipated changes in the electricity distribution system to deliver decarbonisation and show how efficiencies and innovation will make customer service and operational resilience the best it can possibly be.
"On a personal level, I am delighted to accept this appointment. My learning from chairing the Transmission User Group and working with the Ofgem team is a great platform to bring very relevant experience to this new role."
Colin Nicol, managing director of networks at SSEN, added: "Tracey is a high-calibre appointment and we are delighted she will now lead our Customer Engagement Group for RIIO-ED2. As Chair of our RIIO-T2 User Group, Tracey was instrumental in driving independent challenge to the development of our ambitious plans for the transmission system in the north of Scotland, which are far richer as a result.
"We're looking forward to Tracey bringing the same wealth of independent expertise, insight and experience to our distribution business as we prepare for the next price control. As we look to prioritise investment, improve network resilience and enable the transition to a smart, flexible and decarbonised electricity system, the CEG will have a vital role to help us ensure customer and stakeholder needs remain at the forefront of our plans."