February has been a very busy month for the Customer Engagement Group. Alongside our monthly meeting (more on which below), members of the Group have been attending as observers, a range of NGN’s engagement events, including policy workshops on themes such as the environment, social issues, innovation, safety and reliability, and futures, and ‘Willingness to Pay’ testing groups. We are part way through this process and are reporting back to each other on our experience at each session, so that we can compare notes on effectiveness and so on. The engagement schedule forms part of the process of developing the Company’s Business Plan, and is very crucial as the Company must demonstrate, among other things, that its plan reflects customers’ needs.
At our February Group meeting, we were given a range of background information on a number of key building blocks for the Business Plan, including:
- Non-controllable costs;
- Financial incentives (which can reward or penalise company performance), with a focus on proposed changes for GD2;
- Financial Strategy and the impact on Bills; and
- Uncertainty mechanisms (to consider where things might change during the GD2 period).
We asked a range of questions, made a number of challenges (which are being logged) and a series of actions have emerged from the discussions.
We were also given a presentation on ‘Willingness to Pay’ research, being carried out independently on behalf of the company by IMPACT. We were given the opportunity to ask probing questions, make suggestions and so on. Our next Group meeting is in March, and will take place at NGN’s site in Washington, Sunderland.