Board statement

Board statement

This is an ambitious plan built from extensive high quality and robust engagement and process that, as a board, we have seen first-hand.

It has to be ambitious to meet the challenges ahead, as well as meeting the needs and challenges from the thousands of customers and stakeholders engaged over the past two years to develop it.

The fundamental challenge that the country faces is delivering Net Zero at a price people can afford. That means the whole energy system, transport system and other interlinked systems and processes as well as domestic and business policy needs to be joined up, with each playing its part as a cohesive whole.

These systems do not operate in isolation. I fully understand the pressures that government and regulators face when such huge commitments are required across so many sectors in a coordinated way. It’s impossible to ignore the macro factors at play as network companies submit plans to the regulator.

Not only have we seen the COVID-19 pandemic plunge the country into recession, but we’re also now seeing the energy market being directly squeezed by gas prices.

The desire to protect customers from excessive bills is a fundamental requirement. As is making sure that the right amount of investment is taking place at the right time in the right areas to mitigate future risks.

Efficiency and innovation are key, as well as continued engagement. Electricity North West was the most efficient distribution network operator in ED1, is agile thanks to its size and structure and has a strong record of innovation. It’s also been the most transparent in the business planning process publishing more detail than any other network to allow full scrutiny from a range of customers and stakeholders who it’s critical we take on this journey with us.

There is very evident political support in the North West for Net Zero, with Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester all committing to Net Zero before the UK’s 2050 target and supporting our own plan to reach Net Zero by 2038.

This plan delivers for them while recognising that the networks are part of a wider system. That’s why some difficult decisions have been made with a laser focus on efficiency across all areas that make up customer bills, meaning that customers will pay less than they currently do for the network in ED2, while we still deliver the incredibly ambitious plan that the region and country wants and need on the path to Net Zero.

Despite the huge disruption to both home and work life caused by COVID-19, engagement to develop this plan never stopped. I am thankful to the thousands of customers and stakeholders who took part, for their continued and enthusiastic involvement. For more information, see our full board assurance statement below.

Alastair Buchanan