As there are potentially leaner times ahead, gas distribution networks (GDNs) should invest more heavily in training to improve the quality of their operations. That message comes from Develop Training Ltd (DTL) amid calls for the industry to respond to stronger price controls by becoming more cost effective, reliable and innovative.
Chris Wood, chief executive at DTL, whose clients include SGN, Northern Gas Networks, Cadent and Wales & West, said: “As GDNs and others in the industry look to adapt for the future, they should see this as an opportunity to review and re-energise their training programmes. Greater priority on the right kind of training now could be beneficial in delivering increased cost effectiveness, reliability and innovation in years ahead.”
The energy regulator Ofgem’s new RIIO-2 regime is widely expected to squeeze margins when it comes into force in 2021. In preparation consultation with industry bodies will start as early as the summer of 2018.
Wood said: “This review comes at a time of intense political and media scrutiny on the energy companies and the new deal is likely to be significantly more demanding than the current arrangements. Energy prices are already a political hot potato, attracting scrutiny of boardroom salaries and even calls for nationalisation. Upcoming environmental legislation is also likely to add pressure with the publication of the government’s energy and industrial strategy.
“I welcome calls for the industry to respond by demonstrating its effectiveness, innovation and contribution to UK skilled jobs. Achieving all of that will require more investment in learning and development. I firmly believe that companies which invest more in training over the next three years will have a competitive advantage in the years ahead.”
Electricity distributors will face similar challenges when their current price control mechanisms lapse in March 2023.
Image credit: Develop Training.