A smarter network could save the consumer £16 billion

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 9:00AM

“We could save the consumer £16 billion if we embrace a smarter network future.” That was the message from Steve Johnson CEO of Electricity North West in his first speech as new Chairman of Energy Networks Association (ENA). He was speaking at an ENA Well Connected event in Westminster last night which was attended by Energy Minister Charles Hendry as well a large gathering of the energy industry, Ofgem and Parliamentarians. The figure came from a Report commissioned from ENA by Imperial College.  

Steve Johnson told the large gathering that the relationship between the networks and the consumer is going through “a profound change”. He went on to say that this would mean network companies engaging with consumers to ensure that the full benefits of a smarter network were realised.  

Speaking at the event Energy Minister Charles Hendry reinforced this message when he said that the “real prize of smart meters was a smarter network”. He said this could manage the network infrastructure “in a more constructive way” and either “defer or reduce” investment in the networks.  

Steve Johnson made clear that “massive investment was still needed and that those investment decisions need to be made today”. Acknowledging this the Minister said smarter networks were “a key part of delivering the Governments energy policy”. ENA were “the hub” for discussion and coordination of the Government’s £500 million Low Carbon Networks Fund he stated.  

The Minister said that gas still had “a long term role” and “we must be clear now what that role will be”. He said that a major component of this was bio-gas whether injected directly into people’s homes for heat or for electricity generation.  

Mr Hendry also sent out a clear message on the vital issue of metal theft. He had taken part in a cross- Government Ministerial level meeting on the issue recently. He said metal theft had been “ignored for far too long”. He gave a strong commitment that “something would be done by Government” to address it.  

ENDS  

Notes to editor  

ENA represents the ‘wires and pipes’ transmission and distribution network operators for gas and electricity in the UK and Ireland.  

The Imperial College Report can be read here.

For further information please contact:
Tony Glover, Head of Press and Public Affairs
Energy Networks Association
E: [email protected]
T: +44 (0)207 706 5122
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