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Listening to our stakeholders

National Grid’s Electricity Transmission Owner business has held its first-ever stakeholder workshops, which focused on listening to stakeholders and understanding their priorities for our business. Stakeholder Engagement Manager Gary Stokes reviews the events.

Three workshops held by our Electricity Transmission Owner (ETO) business have been welcomed by our stakeholders as a good start to our engagement activities. We’ll use what we heard to focus further conversations with our stakeholders and shape our future business plans.

We organised the workshops so that stakeholder input becomes part of our regular planning process. We’ve heard stakeholders say they want to be involved sooner in our decision-making process, so earlier this year we started planning a programme of engagement that we can repeat every year, and which will bring our stakeholders’ views into our business. We’ll hold annual workshops and use a variety of other communication channels and topic-specific focus groups to support the programme. The Net Promoter System (NPS) also gives us valuable customer feedback.

Prioritising our focus

Our workshops in Surrey, Newcastle and Nottingham were attended by a good cross-section of our stakeholders and gave us valuable feedback. Stakeholders told us it was good to see us engaging in this way, that they liked the group discussion format and that they were generally happy with the high-level topics we covered, namely: reliability of the transmission network; the future role of transmission; connections to our network; and the environment and our work with communities.

Within each area, attendees told us what their priorities are and what our focus should be. Many were also keen to work with us further as we start to add more details to our plans.

Feedback on Connections is already filtering into our ongoing process improvement.

– Gary Stokes, Stakeholder Engagement Manager.

Clear priorities emerging

Across the three workshops, two clear priorities emerged. Stakeholders said they need: 1. A reliable network to provide security of supply, and 2. At a cost that provides value for money.

In addition to these priorities, we’ll also engage more on other subjects that are important to our stakeholders, including specific environmental topics.

For anyone who couldn’t attend, the material discussed at the workshops is available on our Talking Networks website (click here to access the online consultation).

The consultation closed on 25 August, and we are collating all feedback and planning the next steps to look at all the priority areas in more detail. The aim is to reflect what stakeholders expect from us in our internal business planning process.

Feedback on Connections is already filtering into our ongoing process improvement, and we’re starting to make changes as a result of what we’ve heard. This is a great start but we still need to embed this as part of the way we work – that’s our challenge for the coming year.

Best-yet score from Ofgem

Affirming the improvements we’re making to the way we engage, we were delighted to receive news at the end of July that Ofgem (via its independent panel) awarded ETO its highest-ever score – 7 out of 10 – in the annual assessment for the Stakeholder Engagement Incentive Scheme (SEIS). This ranks us fourth among GB energy networks and top of transmission networks.

We also showed improvement earlier this year through the results of our annual independent audit against the AA1000 Stakeholder Engagement Standard, an internationally recognised best practice engagement framework. This placed us in the top 15% of all companies audited worldwide.

We’re pleased our efforts are being recognised but also know there’s much more we can do to improve – we’ll update you further as our programme develops.

To get involved, please visit Talking Networks or email [email protected].