Smart Meter Energy Data Public Interest Advisory Group

The rollout of smart meters across the UK represents a major £11bn national investment paid for by customers – but there is a risk that the wider societal benefit of more granular customer-side energy data may not be delivered.

On 26 March, Sustainability First hosted the second workshop of our Fair for the Future project into delivering a 'Sustainable Licence to Operate' for the energy and water sectors. The workshop tested the second 'Pillar' of our Sustainable Licence to Operate strawman - Making the best use of 'capital': collaboration and competition. It followed our initial March 2019 workshop on Pillar 1 of the strawman, Public purpose, philosophy, and public service values.

It's widely understood that we are in the midst of an energy transition driven by the need to de-carbonise and the broader trends of digitalisation and decentralisation / democratisation. Sustainability First has been engaged in these debates from a consumer stand-point for a long time including running a major multi-party project from 2011-2014 which was one of the pioneering pieces of work on the role of the demand side.

On 7th March, Sustainability First and Frontier Economics held a joint event on 'Future thinking on utility regulation and fairness.' We had some great speakers including Cathryn Ross, Director of Regulatory Affairs at BT Group, Alistair Philips-Davies, CEO of SSE, and Adam Scorer, CEO of National Energy Action. Cathryn shared a personal perspective drawing on her wider regulatory experience, including as previous CEO of Ofwat and Director of Markets and Economics at the ORR. Her speaking notes from the evening form the basis of this guest blog.

Last year Sustainability First was invited to present to a delegation of commissioners and public advocacy groups from California on the consumer and public interest issues in energy in GB. On a recent trip out there I was able, among other things, to call on reciprocal hospitality and met with Wyatt Lundy of the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, who had arranged the delegation.