Utility Week Live, 22nd - 23rd May 2018


Transformation leaders: our top 10

For all utilities, transformation and flexibility are not optional as they face the challenges ahead: they are the key to survival.

Driving this change in culture are a number of people, whilst a combination of key technologies will enable and shape utilities’ transformation and increasing flexibility.

Utility Week Live are delighted to announce the UK's 10 leading industry transformers, as voted for by the industry itself.

Watch out for in-depth articles and stories on these transformation leaders (in partnership with our supporting media brands Utility Week, Network, Water & Wastewater Treatment and WET News) between now and the 2017 show (23-24 May), followed by a detailed exploration of the transformation of utilities across the exhibition hall and seminar stages at the UK's utilities event, including live interviews with our 10 leading transformation leaders. Your industry is changing, understand how and why at Utility Week Live 2017.


Ten individuals have embraced innovation and change in their respective companies, across the sector, and more widely. They are the leaders in the transformation the utilities are undergoing towards becoming more flexible, sustainable and suitable for the new world we’re all heading towards.

Here are the leading ten, our 2017 transformation leaders (listed in no particular order):

Basil Scarsella

Basil Scarsella, chief executive, UK Power Networks

Scarsella has seen UKPN win the utility of the year award at the Utility Week awards twice in consecutive years (2015 and 2016). This has been achieved by improving the safety, efficiency and reliability of the DNO’s operations. Alongside this, under Scarsella’s leadership UKPN is also embracing new technologies, such as energy storage at its Leighton Buzzard site.

Ben Jeffs

Ben Jeffs, CEO, MOSL

Jeffs was named CEO of MOSL in July 2015 and since then has a seen the development of the market operator from a small, starter company to the delivery body behind the opening up of the non-domestic water market. He has helped drive forward the programme which will significantly change the way the water retail market operates.

Cathryn Ross

Cathryn Ross, chief executive, Ofwat

Ross has been influential in helping the regulator shift away from descriptive regulation to a more principles based approach. She returned to Ofwat in July 2013 after five years away at the Office of Rail Regulation. Since then she has guided the industry through the PR14 price review and is gearing up to take the sector through the even more revolutionary PR19. Ross also has an important role in ensuring the sector is ready for market opening in April 2017.

dermot nolan

Dermot Nolan, chief executive, Ofgem 

Nolan joined Ofgem as chief executive officer in March 2014, having previously been commissioner at the Commission for Energy Regulation in Ireland from May 2008 and its chair since May 2011. He has overseen turbulent times within the energy sector, with pressure mounting on suppliers following the Competition and markets Authority probe. Away from retail, Nolan will also manage the transformation of the energy networks to a more flexible system.

Piers Clark

Piers Clark, founder and chairman, Isle Utilities

Clark set up isle Utilities on the back of his experience gained working at Blackstone’s water-sector private equity fund and from four years as Thames water’s commercial director. He has also helped to establish the Technology Approval Group (TAG) in 2005. Isle Utilities is a global team of scientists, engineers, business and regulatory experts, with a 'common drive to make a positive social, economical, and environmental impact through the advancement of innovative technologies and related practices'.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, founder, Tesla, and chairman, SolarCity

Musk is best-known for his exploits with the Tesla motor company, which is developing electric vehicles. The Model S was the most popular EV in the world last year, selling more than 50,000 units. Following on from the success in the automobile sector, Musk has driven Tesla forward with the development of the Powerwall storage system – both for domestic and commercial purposes. He has generated interest in the energy storage sector and EVs that goes far beyond the traditional reach of the sector.

John Reynolds

John Reynolds, chief executive, Castle Water

Reynolds has driven the rapid expansion of Castle Water from a new entrant in the Scottish water retail sector, to the one of the largest companies in the UK water retail space. This has seen the company takeover the customer bases of Portsmouth Water and Thames Water.

Cheryl Latham

Cheryl Latham, chief executive, Brighter World Energy

Latham has set up the new energy supplier, Brighter World Energy, in an attempt to tackle two major problems: UK energy customers being “consistently overcharged” and people in poor nations such as Africa living without access to energy. It promises to install a solar-powered micro-grid in an African village for every 2,000 UK customers it signs up.

Simon Harrison

Simon Harrison - group strategic development manager, Mott MacDonald; & chair of Energy policy panel, IET

Harrison has a pan-infrastructure perspective including energy, transportation, water, the urban and built environment, having built his career primarily in the electricity sector. He also has an active interest in energy policy has led to him directing a number of key studies. Harrison chairs the Institution of Engineering and Technology's energy policy panel, and most recently the Future Power Systems Architecture Project, a collaboration for the UK government between the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Energy Systems Catapult.

Tony Cocker

Tony Cocker, chief executive, E.ON UK
Transformation and flexibility have been the watchwords of Tony Cocker’s many years at the top. Cocker has worked his way up through the company over a period of 19 years to arrive at his current position. He spent 14 years with E.ON, both in the UK and in Germany, before being named as UK chief executive in 2011. Since then, he has seen the company go through a split, with the newly created Uniper business taking on the conventional energy world of upstream generation, freeing E.ON to focus on developing new energy solutions and becoming a partner of choice for customers.

For more information on our top 10, including the reasons behind their nominations, please click here.

The best industry exhibition I have ever been to. Thought provoking, interesting, good networking, with a positive feel to the whole event… it was excellent!

Jacob Tompkins OBE, Managing Director, Waterwise