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Shaping our RIIO plans

On Tuesday, 17 July, National Grid’s Electricity Transmission business invited stakeholders to share their thoughts and insights to help shape our innovation plans for RIIO-T2.

Explaining the need for events like this, Iliana Portugués, Electricity Transmission’s Head of Innovation, said, “To ensure we deliver the future needs of our customers, we have to work more closely with the rest of the energy industry to design and create the adaptive network we need. No one can work in isolation and be successful. This workshop is a step closer to achieving that change.”

Around 40 stakeholders attended the workshop in Sandown to share their experiences of working with National Grid and provide their frank and open feedback on what we need to do to make sure our innovative ideas are taken up by the whole energy industry.

The day started with short presentations to set the groundwork for the discussions that would come. Attendees learnt how National Grid is incentivised through the RIIO regulatory deal to innovate and run the network. With the need for transparency and openness key, we also explained how Ofgem expect us to evolve and change as we move from RIIO-T1 to T2. This includes clearly showing fair returns on investments and where profits are driven by our
efficiencies and innovations.

Setting the mood for the day’s open-ended conversations, Ursula Bryan, Head of Engineering and Asset Management, gave examples that no one could have predicted for the energy industry, including the increase of solar energy coming on to the network. After showing the changes our industry is going through, Ursula talked about how companies like Uber and Netflix have disrupted their own industries. The next part of the session asked everyone to consider how National Grid and our stakeholders could start to disrupt our own industry to make improvements for end consumers and stakeholders

Amongst the attendees helping National Grid to explore ways to disrupt and improve the energy industry were ABB, Morgan Sindall and the Energy Innovation Centre. Tina Catling, Innovation Director, Morgan Sindall said: “It’s great that National Grid are doing [events like] this. It’s part of the best-practice of innovation to be open to different voices and hear what other organisations have to say. Cognitive diversity is vital to success.”

We are being more open about our plans for the future than we have been in the past and are learning from these workshops. Watch this space for our next moves.

– Iliana Portugués, Electricity Transmission’s Head of Innovation.

Feedback also included conversations about where National Grid needs to be more open with stakeholders and position themselves as a “policy disruptor” if they want to become a thought leader. This included being told that they need to keep sharing information about where they are taking the business and what their innovation strategy challenges are. This will help stakeholders make informed investment decisions.

Reflecting on the day, Iliana Portugués explained that her team will be sharing the outcomes of the workshop. “The next step is to analyse the comments and share our plans with attendees,” she said. “We are being more open about our plans for the future than we have been in the past and are learning from these workshops. Watch this space for our next moves.”

“Thank you to everyone who attended and helped make the workshop a success. We have a lot of work ahead of us. Your input will shape our next steps and make a difference to how we drive our innovation programme forwards.”

For a taster of some of the feedback National Grid received on the day, please watch the video.

If you would like to find out more about the work National Grid’s Electricity Transmission innovation team are doing, please see our website, search LinkedIn for ‘Innovation at National Grid’ or find us on Twitter @nationalgriduk.

If you would like to speak to someone in the Electricity Transmission Innovation team, email us at [email protected].