Utility Week

UTILITY Week 21st March 2014

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UtILItY WEEK | 21st - 27th March 2014 | 9 Interview I magine a world where Amazon and Google compete to sell you electricity and gas. A world where the vertically integrated giants have withered away, gen- erators concentrate on generation, and the big six as we know them have dwindled, leaving just two companies – recognisable only in name – competing with the big names in retail. If you can, then you have just peeked into the mind of Sacha Deshmukh, chief executive of the Central Deliv- ery Body (CDB) and the man charged with getting into 30 million homes and businesses to roll out more than 53 million smart meters by 2020. This revolution started small – with Deshmukh join- ing CDB chair Baroness Margaret McDonagh in the base- ment of Energy UK at the end of last summer. Today, the CDB ranks have swollen to nine full-time employees. But this team will change energy supply in the UK forever. Deshmukh displays a contagious enthusiasm as he outlines his plans on how to get the public on board with smart meters, sort out the energy supply market and create a brave new world in people's homes. "The one thing that runs throughout the organisa- tion like a stick of rock is that we are here to understand customers' desire about how to live their lives, and how they want to be customers of gas and electricity in a way that normalises their customer relationship to that they would expect in other areas of their life," Deshmukh tells Utility Week on a bright morning at the CDB's current base in Farringdon, London. This is easier than it sounds, apparently, because consumers already want what the scheme is attempt- ing to deliver. "If you give them a blank piece of paper and ask them how they want the energy market to work, they pretty much come up with a data and communica- tions company (DCC), and a SMETS 2 [second generation smart meter specification] piece of technology which

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