Customers must be at the heart of the future energy system – this was the main conclusion from Western Power Distribution’s regional energy roundtable in South Wales held on Friday, September 15.

WPD invited local community groups, industry leaders and energy experts to get hands on with the latest energy innovations and technologies and discuss South Wales’ priorities as it moves toward the energy system of the future.

Debating the region’s future energy requirements, the attendees highlighted the importance of continued dialogue between energy network operators and customers, as the way electricity is generated and used in South Wales is changing.

In South Wales there has been an increase of renewable energy generation – such as solar and wind – coinciding with greater use of low carbon technologies, including electric vehicles and energy storage.

The roundtable formed part of WPD’s wider consultation with a range of stakeholders to understand local priorities, as WPD responds to these changes.

Electricity networks are becoming smarter and more active, transitioning from the current Distribution Network Operator model towards more active Distribution System Operators.

To ensure customers’ interests remain at the heart of its business, WPD is building on years of world-leading research, innovation and in-depth engagement with local communities. The insights from this and other regional energy roundtables, independently chaired by the chief executive of regen Merlin Hyman, will inform WPD’s comprehensive DSO transition plan.

Merlin Hyman said: “The future energy system will be lower carbon, smarter and more decentralised. Operators of the energy network like WPD will be at the forefront of this transition, and I look forward to seeing how WPD’s future plans reflect the priorities identified at today’s roundtable.”

Phil Swift, operations director at WPD, said: “We value the great insight and experience our local stakeholders bring to the table. Their continued feedback and guidance enables us to do our very best to meet our customers’ needs. As we embark on what we believe will be a transformative era for the UK energy industry, we are hugely grateful to be able to work in partnership with our stakeholders in shaping the next phase in our transition.”