Mike Foster - Chairman

Mike Foster - Chairman

Mike Foster is CEO of Energy and Utilities Alliance, a not-for-profit trade association based in the West Midlands. He holds a degree in economics, a post-graduate certificate in education and is a Chartered Management Accountant. Having started work in the car industry, he taught accountancy, economics and statistics for six years before becoming MP for Worcester (1997-2010). He served as a Minister for four years, under both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, latterly as Minister for International Development. Before heading up EUA, he was Head of Communications at the international charity WaterAid.

Jeremy Nesbitt - Managing Director

Jeremy Nesbitt - Managing Director

Jeremy is a qualified mechanical engineer and holds a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA). He is a Chartered Manager and a member of the Institution of Gas Engineers.

In 2004, on behalf of National Grid, Jeremy was instrumental in establishing Community Energy Solutions Ltd and also Warm Wales - Cymru Gynnes Ltd and, on secondment from National Grid, served as Warm Wales’ Commercial Director until 2008.

Returning to National Grid he established Affordable Warmth Solutions Ltd that was awarded Community Interest Company status in January 2009. As a former member of the Governments Fuel Poverty Advisory Group he now advises the Governments Committee on Fuel Poverty with regard to Off Gas Grid Customers.

Phil Rider - Operations Director

Phil Rider - Operations Director

Phil is an incorporated gas engineer and health and safety professional and has worked within the gas industry for some 35 years holding Senior Manager positions in both engineering and health and safety.

Phil has also been responsible for the delivery of multi million pound fuel poor initiatives across England and Wales and in February 2009 joined Affordable Warmth Solutions.

In November 2009 Phil was invited to join the Board as Operations Director, accountable for the design and delivery of all engineering schemes together with Health, Safety and Environmental policies.

Chris Bennett - Non-Executive Director

Chris Bennett - Non-Executive Director

Chris Bennett was appointed Director, UK Regulation in July 2016. In this role he leads on regulatory strategy and price control activities while advising individual National Grid businesses on their day to day regulatory discussions.

Project Director - Integrated Transmission Planning & Regulation (ITPR)

Appointed as Project Director of ITPR in September 2015, Chris is responsible for delivering National Grid's new ITPR obligations and preparing National Grid for the introduction of onshore transmission network competition. Chris is also taking a lead role in discussions with Government on future System Operator Models to meet the future energy challenges.

Chris has over 20 years experience in the Utility sector and has previously held senior roles in National Grid's Gas Distribution, Metering and Transmission businesses, with his last role preparing the 3 UK regulated businesses to deliver their customer and stakeholder commitments under the new RIIO framework.

Chris sits on the board of National Grid Electricity Transmissions (NGET) and National Grid Gas (NGG).

Chris is married with two children, George and Leila.

Jenny Saunders OBE - Non-Executive Director

Jenny Saunders OBE - Non-Executive Director

Jenny Saunders has been Chief Executive of National Energy Action since 2007, and prior to that was Director of Communications.

She has a number of public advisory roles:

  • UK Government's Committee on Fuel Poverty
  • Ofgem's Sustainable Development Group
  • Durham Energy Institute's Advisory Board at the University of Durham
  • Newcastle University Sustainability Institute's Partnership Committee
  • UKERC Advisory Board

She also has a number of advisory roles to the energy sector and is a member of:

  • Scottish Power's Stakeholder Forum
  • EDF Energy's Standards of Conduct Panel
  • Northern Powergrid's Social Expert Group
  • and chairs SSE's Customer Forum

She is a Non-Executive Board Director of National Grid Affordable Warmth Solutions Community Interest Company.

Jenny is also trustee of Energy Action Scotland.

Having helped to establish a grant-making fund at the Community Foundation for Tyne & Wear and Northumberland to assist women to achieve their full potential, Jenny served on the Women's Fund Committee for five years from 1999 - 2004. She served as a trustee of the British Gas Energy Trust for six years until October 2010 and the Chesshire Lehmann Fund from 2009 - 2016 and was a member of EDF Energy's CMA scrutiny panel. She is chair of a local community group in Newcastle.

A language graduate of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, Jenny worked in Norway and in youth and community training programmes prior to joining NEA. She was awarded an OBE in the 2013 New Year Honours List for her services to the fuel poor. In December 2016 she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Newcastle in Civil Law.

Jonathan Leech - Non-Executive Director

Jonathan Leech - Non-Executive Director

Jonathan is a commercial, regulatory and projects lawyer, with particular emphasis on the energy, utility and nuclear sectors.

His work includes advising on legal and contracting strategies, procurement and regulatory issues associated with utility networks, nuclear development, decommissioning, waste and reprocessing projects, energy infrastructure and other utility and infrastructure related projects.

He works extensively on procurement strategies for development and renewal of UK gas and electricity network infrastructure, including development of multi-party alliance structures, as well as broader energy and construction projects.

Colum Goodchild - Non Executive Director

Colum Goodchild - Non Executive Director

Colum is a specialist in Asset Management and has extensive experience of evaluating investment plans with regard to risk management and service improvement. Colum currently leads the asset strategy function at Cadent Gas Distribution, having previously worked in a variety of operational, customer engagement and regulatory roles at Northumbrian Water. He also works in a non-executive capacity with a social housing provider in the North East, County Durham Housing Group (CDHG).