Utility Week

UTILITY Week 30th October 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Page 27 of 31

28 | 30TH OCTOBER - 5TH NOVEMBER 2015 | UTILITY WEEK Community Who said what: Day 1: "We can't keep taking out old capacity without replacing it. On present trends there is a real danger the UK may not be able to cope." Frank Mitchell, Scottish Power Energy Networks chief executive "If you thought PR14 was chal- lenging and that PR19 would be easier, you need to think again" Cathryn Ross, Ofwat chief executive, warned of further challenges for water companies at the Utility Week Congress on 15 October. "I think we spend too much time telling everybody that the energy industry is really 5 CORE LESSONS ON INNOVATION Innovation doesn't need to be about radical new ideas: Affinity Water chief executive Simon Cocks said it can also be about applying basic principles in a novel way to drive improvement. "Sometimes innovation is about taking inspiration from elsewhere," he said. Innovation isn't just about technology: It is just as much about people and culture according to Mark Horsley, chief executive of Northern Gas Networks. "There's no structural barrier to innovation," he said. "The barriers are cultural. Regulation can be an obstacle but sometimes, Horsley argued, companies "make excuses about regulation" to avoid having to make changes. Innovation needs communication: As recently as five years ago, energy networks were often described as "dinosaurs", said Energy Networks Association policy director Tony Glover. To change that perception, networks must work hard to get across what they're doing in "the innovation space". Innovation will need a whole-system approach: Nick Winser, chair of the Energy Systems Catapult, highlighted how an affordable and effective transition to a low-carbon economy will require more systems thinking across the energy sector in the future, integrating and co-ordinating electricity, combustible gas and heat networks (see p6). Innovation is necessary: "If we don't open our minds in the utilities sector, we will be left so far behind, it's unbelievable," summed up Horsley. complicated. It's not that complicated, you just need really clear communication. We mustn't underestimate consumers in the utility sector. We do so at our peril, because customers then feel in the dark. " Juliet Davenport, Good Energy chief executive "How can we rapidly improve customer service and produc- tivity? 75 per cent of produc- tivity gains can be made not through high capital invest- ment, not through innovation, but by simply catching up with best practise." Alan Kelly, Unipart Expert Practices chief operating officer Day 2: "It's a really interesting test of a regulator seeing whether it genuinely wants to reap what it sows. If it challenges the industry and [the industry] does respond, is it prepared to let us move forward with that?" Paul Bircham, network strategy and technical services director, Electricity North West

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