Northern Powergrid |
Customer Engagement Group

September, 2019


About Northern Powergrid

Northern Powergrid manages the electricity network which powers everyday life for more than eight million people across the North East, Yorkshire, and northern Lincolnshire. Its network, comprising more than 63,000 substations and 60,000 miles of overhead power lines and underground cables spanning 9,650 square miles, delivers electricity to some 3.9 million homes and businesses.

As a Distribution Network Operator, it is responsible for ensuring the electricity that its customers buy from their chosen energy suppliers is delivered safely, whenever it is needed. If the power ever gets interrupted, Northern Powergrid is there 24/7, 365 days a year to fix it.

Its always-prepared team of energy experts live in Northern Powergrid's operating area and is proud to play an essential role in powering the homes and businesses it serves. 

Each day, Northern Powergrid invests around £1m on managing and improving its network; increasing reliability and supporting economic growth across the region. The company also provides new connections to its network.

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In an evolving energy industry, Northern Powergrid is changing its approach to network management so it can continue to provide a secure supply of electricity for customers as the UK energy landscape responds to decarbonisation and increased demand from new technologies like renewable electricity, electric vehicles, and heat pumps.

Northern Powergrid has a key role in creating and managing future energy systems that increasingly interact with its customers and smart and low carbon technologies so its innovation programme, which is focused on customer-led initiatives, is investing today, so it is ready for the demands of tomorrow.

About the Customer Engagement Group

Northern Powergrid is determined to ensure that all customers and stakeholders are considered in its operational planning, so the best possible outcome for all is what it delivers. The Customer Engagement Group will scrutinise and challenge Northern Powergrid's plans, so the company can be confident it is doing the right thing and spending customers’ money on what they prioritise in the next regulatory price control.

To ensure Northern Powergrid hears the needs of customers and stakeholders from all of the communities it serves, members of the Customer Engagement Group will be from a broad variety of backgrounds with a mix of expertise. They will act as champions for Northern Powergrid's customers and stakeholders and will shape how it delivers services during the RIIO2 regulatory period 2023-2028, and beyond.

The Customer Engagement Group is being set up at the request of Ofgem to encourage greater interaction between operators and their customers. Customer Engagement Group members will have the independence, responsibility and voice to influence how millions of customers are affected by Northern Powergrid's operations as it moves forward to a new regulatory period. The group has the opportunity to ensure that all customers and stakeholders are represented and receive the best possible service and value.


"As an independent group, we will operate in an open and transparent way."

Note from the Chair, Justin McCracken 

“As inaugural chair of Northern Powergrid’s Customer Engagement Group, I’m determined to build a forward-looking team that will effectively represent the needs and priorities of our region’s broad customer base, from single-person households to the multinational companies. As an independent group, we will operate in an open and transparent way. With the industry on the cusp of significant change, the actions we will guide can help directly improve quality of life and business in the area while contributing to nationwide decarbonisation and the growth of the clean economy and job market. I relish the opportunity to play an active role in shaping them and helping to ensure that customers’ and communities’ needs are carefully balanced throughout this change.”

Note from Phil Jones, Chief Executive Officer

“We are delighted to have secured someone of Justin’s calibre and experience to lead our Customer Engagement Group. Our business will produce a better plan, and in turn, will deliver a better service to our region as a result of having addressed the challenges brought by the group he will lead. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work with him.”


The Role

Members of the Customer Engagement Group will:

  • provide input on one or more specialist topics, shaping the group’s discussion and the challenge of Northern Powergrid's business plan,
  • work independently of Northern Powergrid, Ofgem, any other organisation or group of customers – demonstrating impartiality throughout all meetings and interactions with the company,
  • challenge the breadth, depth, and quality of Northern Powergrid’s stakeholder and customer engagement and the process through which this engagement has shaped the company’s business plan,
  • challenge Northern Powergrid’s strategic priorities and approach, the options considered, and the justification behind decisions, and
  • support the Customer Engagement Group chair in the delivery of an independent report to Ofgem and the RIIO-2 Challenge Group.

Group Members

The Customer Engagement Group chair will appoint group members, who will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • willingness and ability to constructively challenge people, systems and plans,
  • commercial awareness in energy, regulated utilities or other related industries,
  • excellent communication skills: persuasive and influential, diplomatic, effectively builds rapport with individuals and groups,
  • understanding of transparent governance and the ability to act independently,
  • experience of balancing complex issues and representing consumer views, and
  • a passionate drive to represent the needs of the area served by Northern Powergrid.

In addition to these core skills, the Customer Engagement Group is looking for members who have specialist experience in one or more of the following areas:

1. Customer advocacy and stakeholder relations

  • Customer research / representation / inclusivity
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Major users including Local Authorities and LEPs
  • Needs of current and future users
  • Hard to reach groups – including digital exclusion
  • Vulnerable customers including fuel poverty
  • Partnerships

2. Core commercial regulated business

  • Energy supply and/or distribution
  • The wider utility sector
  • Electricity transmission
  • Regulatory framework/price control planning
  • Outputs and expenditure
  • Resilience
  • Financial models including debt investment
  • Technical benchmarking

3. Energy futures

  • Energy system transition
  • Flexible energy resource provision
  • Future energy skills and workforce
  • Innovation
  • Big data and digitisation
  • Future energy scenarios
  • Low carbon technologies including energy storage
  • Distributed generation
  • Community energy (including non-traditional business models)
  • Sustainability and environmental improvement

The Commitment

In addition to your enthusiasm, expertise and knowledge, Northern Powergrid anticipates the need for:

  • your attendance at a one day induction event and capacity to provide approximately one to 1.5 days per month; including attending Customer Engagement Group meetings, stakeholder events and other related activities. There may be flexibility year on year, depending on the timing within the consultation, and
  • your commitment to serve for a term of four years (to September 2023), with the option to renew dependent upon circumstances.

To support the Customer Engagement Group in delivering its role, Northern Powergrid commits to provide a range of resources to the group to help the chair and members in undertaking this role, including:

  • secretariat support,
  • independent communications support,
  • access to Northern Powergrid's people and relevant data,
  • full induction and training including specialist independent regulatory advice, and
  • resources to enable access to or the commissioning of specialist analysis, research or support, as required.


Group members will be remunerated at an agreed rate, or with a contribution to a preferred charity, or other arrangements as appropriate. Expenses will be paid.

How to apply/register your interest

To arrange an informal discussion about Northern Powergrid's Customer Engagement Group membership, please email

To apply, please submit a covering letter and CV to by 22 September 2019. Please briefly outline why you are interested in this opportunity and what area(s) of expertise you feel you could bring.

For further information on Northern Powergrid and its work, please go to