EY UK Energy blog

Energy Live 2012 – a confident gathering of the energy industry’s key influencers

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Posted: Friday, 9 November 2012 at 2.30pm

We were delighted to be the lead sponsor of Energy Live 2012, enabling the creation of a new type of energy debate with our friends at Energy Live News.

Tony Ward

Tony Ward, Partner, Head of Power & Utilities for UK&I, takes the stage

The feedback received since from industry and colleagues alike confirmed that the day was a huge success due to a refreshing ‘no PowerPoint’‘ format, engaging speakers and plenty of audience  interaction . I for one couldn’t agree more.

Energy Live 2012 demonstrated that we can do things differently. It was commendable to see all aspects of the energy value chain in one place, with energy users, legislators, suppliers and generators sharing opinions, questions and solutions.  The level of interaction was also a great example of the growing confidence of all market participants to have an open debate about the future direction of an industry that affects us all.

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the panel session along with Volker Beckers, Sara Vaughan, Neil Clitheroe and Juliet Davenport, discussing the issue of trust within the industry.

The debate touched on the need for the industry to transform from one primarily seen as a supplier of a commodity, with customers largely disengaged from the ‘production’ aspects of the energy itself to a service provider where transparency and trust have a pivotal role in building value in customer relationships.

There is no doubt that the industry has to earn this trust – it is not a ‘given’ and it was recognised that the level of trust was not where it should rightfully be.

I sense that the need for re-building this trust is recognised, and is top of the agenda for energy utilities. But we should take care to not overdo the contrition. In an environment where users of energy are not being given all the facts and information necessary for them to reach informed judgements about the choices that the energy sector is having to make on their behalf at the moment – choices around what type of generating capacity to build for example – we risk perpetuating a sense of energy being an over-priced commodity.

In that vein, Angela Knight continued the momentum by launching  the Powering the UK report that Energy UK had commissioned us to develop.  The report highlights the critical role the energy sector has to play in supporting jobs and economic growth up and down the country – key facts providing a confident, broad perspective on energy issues in the UK, not often heard.

And that question of confidence is a key one at the heart of the energy sector’s much needed transformation – it is not just about engagement and trust.  Confidence is also key.  Whether confidence to invest, confidence that we are working towards a fuel mix and infrastructure that will enable long-term security of supply and stability in energy prices, or to enable the creation of jobs in an evolving energy sector that involves users as much as producers, investment in the energy sector is a huge opportunity for our economy.

Ed Davey

Ed Davey, MP, Secretary of State for Energy

Another highlight of the day was of course Ed Davey, MP, Secretary of State for Energy delivering an engaging and honest presentation that went a long way to promoting confidence coupled with an indication of change within the forthcoming Energy Bill.  “It’s you that are going to deliver the energy – your money, you companies, and what I want to do as Secretary of State for Energy is create the framework and the clarity that you need to go to your boards to make those investments and to make sure that we continue to have a fantastic energy industry in the UK.”

If you missed the event, further information and footage can be found  at Energy Live News and my speech can be viewed here. Thanks to ELN for creating a platform for these issues to be debated and bringing together key influencers within the Energy sector.

As mentioned, the feedback I’ve seen so far has been very positive and the level of Twitter activity around the event was great, but please continue to share your views.

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