Outgoing UKPN director says he’ll miss sector advancements

The outgoing finance director at UK Power Networks says he's disappointed that he'll miss out on the advent of smarter, flexible electricity networks.

Outgoing UKPN director says he’ll miss sector advancements

Richard Roberts, who is retiring at the end of this month (March), said: “The energy sector has seen the pace of change really accelerate around the move to the low carbon economy in the last five years. That pace of change is only going to increase in the years ahead and that is one of the things that I will miss being part of.

“The next 10 years will be exciting, with a huge pace of change. We will see numbers of electric vehicles increase significantly and have to make sure the infrastructure is ready to support this. It’s a great sector to be involved in because it’s crucial – nothing works without electricity; phones, tablets, IT.”

In finance he predicts technological advances will provide even better information to improve and monitor performance. “When I started, computers and IT were only just beginning to come in. We used A4 pads with 14 columns to capture the numbers. When you phoned customer services with a query about an account they had a large carousel of cards. It was a different world in 1985, but you could carry on in a power cut because everything was on paper.

“The functionality in financial IT systems and our ability to extract and report on information has improved immeasurably over the last 30 years. There will always be things we can be doing in finance to provide better quality information to the management and continuously improve and monitor how improvements are coming through. In the medium to longer term Artificial Intelligence (AI) may start to have an impact on what happens in finance.”

Roberts has been finance director at UK Power Networks since its creation in October 2010 and held the role at its legacy firms, EDF Energy Networks and Seeboard.

Jenny Harrison, currently financial controller at UK Power Networks, has been appointed as Richard’s replacement.


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