The UK's energy industry has been transformed in the last quarter of a century, and must now work to transform its reputation, says Energy UK's outgoing Chief Executive David Porter, speaking at his farewell reception at the Institute of Directors tonight.
After a quarter of a century in the energy industry, David Porter leaves the trade association this week, handing over to his successor, Angela Knight. Speaking to guests representing the energy sector, parliament and consumers, David Porter said:
"I have seen great changes in the industry since I first became involved in 1987. It was an uphill struggle, then, for independent electricity businesses to compete with the state industry, despite legislation that was meant to encourage new entrants.
"Now we have a very open market and a huge range of companies - large, medium and small. The pressures on industry have changed too - with the emergence of the environmental agenda creating challenges that were not foreseen at the time of privatisation. The industry has risen to this challenge. And it delivers energy extremely reliably and also competitively - our electricity and gas prices are among the lowest in western Europe.
"Our reputation, however, does not reflect that success. So, with its diverse range of members, Energy UK will have to attack that problem. Angela Knight is well equipped for that. She brings to Energy UK immense experience of business and government and I wish her every success with the challenges ahead."
Angela Knight, who joined Energy UK in September, commented: "I am delighted to be appointed to this extraordinarily important role. The energy sector plays a vital role in supporting the UK economy, with the level of investment reaching over £10 billion last year, creating jobs at a time when they are badly needed.
"There are three areas where we need to focus. Government decisions on reforming the energy market should be clear, pragmatic and stable. New policies should be affordable, and supportive of an open and competitive market. And broad public debate is needed to improve understanding of the UK's energy challenges. Explaining what the future looks like is an essential part of moving forward."
Notes to Editors:
For further information contact Will Roberts or Abigail Gibson in the Energy UK Press Office on 020 7104 4161, 020 7104 4162. Out of hours 07983 469764
Energy UK brings together a wide range of energy interests, including small, medium and large companies working in electricity generation, energy networks and gas and electricity supply, as well as a number of businesses that provide equipment and services to the industry. The association was established in April 2012, following a merger of the Association of Electricity Producers, the Energy Retail Association and the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy. Our members generate more than 90% of UK electricity and supply up to 26 million homes.