We to need to bust open the energy market and get more trust into the drive for energy efficiency

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 4:00PM

ENA Fringe Review
Labour Party Conference

Smarter networks: empowering the people?

"We to need to bust open the energy market and get more trust into the drive for energy efficiency". This was the message from Shadow Secretary for Energy and Climate Change Meg Hillier MP speaking at an Energy Networks Association (ENA) fringe event in Liverpool.

The audience, including members of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and other MPs and Peers, heard the challenges facing the country at the moment and pointed to the critical role the public have to play in a low-carbon future:

"We have a great opportunity to create green jobs, drive green growth and to empower customers to change the way they use energy. By empowering them to take control they can also reduce the cost to them."

She went on to recognise the need to provide information and reassurance to customers in a smarter future:

"We can change behaviour through improved technology and design, but there are issues around data and we need to make sure we use the information securely to both reduce demand and respond to it."

Dave Openshaw, representing ENA, called on clear decisions from the Government to improve the investment environment:

"The industry is driven by policy and the decisions about how we generate and use energy. More work will be needed to manage demand and we must fill the valleys of usage not increase the peaks if we are to have an affordable energy future.

Barry Gardiner MP, a member of the Energy & Climate Change Select Committee asked about the tension between more empowered customers and the need for automation to help them be more efficient. Meg responded to say that there needs to be someone else to help get the message across, someone customers can rely upon.

Dave Openshaw replied to say that:

"We need to increase awareness, increase interest and gain the trust of customers. The networks are up for this challenge to drive efficiency and help customers to help themselves."

Alan Whitehead MP, also on the Select Committee pointed out that Smart Meters are only as efficient as part of a wider network so the solution is a smarter grid that can make better use of the existing network.

ENDS

For more information please contact:
Tim FIeld
Press and Public Affairs Executive
Energy Networks Association
07725372758