The North West’s power network operator, Electricity North West, has appointed its first ever independent customer champion to challenge and help shape its business plans for investment in the region.
Jeff Halliwell will establish and chair the power network’s new Customer Engagement Group, scrutinising how effectively the company engages with its customers and ensuring their voices are heard and represented in its business plans.
Mr Halliwell is a consumer heavyweight, and currently holds a number of non-executive positions including chair of Heathrow Airport’s Consumer Challenge Board, chair of Anglian Water’s Customer Engagement Forum, and chair of Transport Focus, the statutory independent consumer watchdog for Britain’s rail, bus, coach and tram passengers, and users of the major road network.
Peter Emery, chief executive officer at Electricity North West, said: “We’re at a critical point for electricity infrastructure investment in the North West. With electric cars, heating and increased power generation through solar and wind, it’s essential we get our investment right over the next few years to really realise the potential that the North West has for a clean green future.
“We’re delighted to be one of the first electricity distribution network operators to have established an independent customer champion, and delighted to have someone of Jeff’s calibre on board.
“Jeff brings with him a fantastic level of experience and insight to be able to establish and chair this new group and I look forward to working with him to ensure our plans deliver for the people of the North West.”
Jeff Halliwell said: “As it’s a monopoly supplier, it’s vital that Electricity North West’s business plans are driven by its consumers. I look forward to setting up the Customer Engagement Group to scrutinise and report publically on this. My family roots are in Lancashire and I’ve run a number of major consumer businesses in the North West, so I’ve a strong affinity with the region.”
Between 2015-2023, Electricity North West is investing £1.8bn in the region and is already planning beyond 2023, identifying key areas of focus.
As a regional monopoly, a portion of everyone’s power bills in the region go to Electricity North West to operate and maintain the network of overhead lines and underground cables from Cheshire to Cumbria.