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Energy policy research team

Policy work by the team

Read more about our energy policy work.

Gillian Cooper, Head of Energy Policy

Gillian Cooper has been Head of Energy Policy at Citizens Advice since November 2018. She leads the organisation’s policy work as the statutory energy consumer advocate and is also responsible for its energy consumer advice strategy. 

Gillian has been a consumer advocate in the energy sector for over 16 years, working in a number of watchdog organisations. Her previous role was head of energy retail markets at Citizens Advice. Before starting her advocacy career, she worked at a research agency specialising in industry and financial markets analysis.

Read Gillian's blogs.

Richard Hall, Chief Energy Economist 

Richard Hall is the Chief Energy Economist, providing insight and analysis across the range of our energy policy work, with a particular recent focus on retail price caps and on the approach to stimulating investment in low carbon generation.

Rich has spent over 18 years working on energy issues. Prior to Citizens Advice, he worked for the advocacy group Consumer Focus, for the sector regulator Ofgem, and for the electricity balancing and settlement administrator Elexon, in a range of policy and project management roles.

Read Richard’s blogs

Dhara Vyas, Head of Future Energy Services 

Since August 2015 Dhara has led the team working on new and emerging energy supply and services markets to protect and promote the interests of consumers, current and future.  The team works on energy policy related to household energy usage data, smart meters, heat networks, micro-generation, community energy and future heat options.   It also works to influence emerging policy on energy products and services that can help to improve consumer control and household energy efficiency.  Dhara joined Consumer Focus in 2009 as a Policy Manager, leading work on vulnerable consumers, advice and redress.  She has a wide range of strategic policy experience having previously worked in both the public and voluntary sectors on issues, including civil and civic society, community engagement, local authority performance management, scrutiny, localism and devolved budgets.

Read Dhara's blogs.

Joe Parrott, Policy Researcher 

Joe joined the Energy team in May 2020. His current focus is the decarbonisation of heat as part of the transition to net zero. 

Joe joined the Energy Team from the Post and Telecoms team at Citizens Advice, where he mainly worked on post office policy. Prior to joining Citizens Advice, he worked in the health sector and completed an MSc in International Development.

Lauren Snoxell, Senior Policy Researcher

Lauren joined Citizens Advice in March 2018. She currently leads our work on energy efficiency and fuel poverty in our Future Energy Services team, whilst co-ordinating our net zero strategy. She’s previously worked in the Energy Networks and Systems team leading our work on gas distribution, the future of gas and enhanced engagement of energy networks. Whilst at Citizens Advice she has led projects on vulnerability, heat networks, energy efficiency and renewable and low carbon technologies. Prior to joining Citizens Advice Lauren worked for the Renewable Energy Association focussing on renewable transport fuels and electric vehicles.

Rachel Mills, Senior Policy Researcher

Rachel joined Citizens Advice in January 2019. She advocates for a fair and inclusive future energy market, ensuring there are robust consumer protections in place when people interact with emerging energy products and services such as smart appliances and electric vehicles. Previously, her role focused on debt and vulnerability policy, as well as engaging with energy suppliers to improve their customer service. Before joining Citizens Advice, she worked in education policy research and in both frontline and customer insight roles in social housing.

Tom Brooke Bullard, Policy Researcher

Tom joined Citizens Advice in 2018, and moved over to the Future Energy Services team in May 2020. His work focuses on digital policy areas, including smart appliances and services, data, electric vehicles and demand-side response. Before joining Citizens Advice, Tom worked for various not-for-profit organisations in frontline and research roles. He holds an MA in Public Policy, and a BA in English Literature and History.

Zoe Guijarro, Senior Policy Researcher 

Zoe joined the Future Energy Services team in February 2015 to lead policy work on renewable and low carbon heat, microgeneration and community energy. The main focus of work in this area is GB wide but it also includes aspects of this work at the European level. Zoe's work is concentrated on building up the evidence base for better consumer engagement in these areas to help inform Citizens Advice in its advocacy on the future of low carbon heating and decentralised energy solutions. Before joining Citizens Advice Zoe worked as a Climate & Energy Specialist at WWF-UK leading their advocacy on energy efficiency, zero carbon homes and low-carbon heat.

Read Zoe's blogs.

Andy Manning, Principal Economic Regulation Specialist 

Andy joined Citizens Advice in April 2021. Andy leads the Energy, Networks and Systems team. The team seeks to ensure that consumers receive the services they require from the energy network companies at good value for money, and that the energy system works well for consumers. Andy sits on the Ofgem Challenge Group that assesses network companies’ business plans.

Andy has worked in the energy industry for over 20 years, working for Centrica and RWEnpower before joining Citizens Advice. This was in a variety of commercial and regulatory roles, mainly focused on network regulation and system governance.

Amy Smith, Policy Researcher

Amy joined Citizens Advice in June 2021. She works in the Energy Networks and Systems team with a policy focus on independent networks and on the regulatory framework for distribution and transmission networks. 

Prior to joining Citizens Advice, Amy lectured in British politics and public policy at the University of Sheffield. She holds an MSc in New Political Communication and a PhD in Politics, both from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Caroline Farquhar, Senior Policy Researcher

Caroline joined national Citizens Advice in January 2019 after a 12 year career in Funding and Development in a sizeable Local Citizens Advice in Kent. Caroline works in the Energy Networks and Systems team as the lead liaison with the six monopoly Electricity Distribution Network Operators. She will have a particular interest in the transition of the DNOs to new responsibilities as Distribution System Operators. Prior to her Citizens Advice career, Caroline worked for a decade as a Credit Manager in the investment banking industry in London with a portfolio including UK, Benelux, and Italian banks, fund managers, and specialist funds. Caroline holds an MBA, LLB, MA in Archaeology, and a BA in History.  

Ed Rees, Senior Policy Researcher

Ed joined Citizens Advice in November 2018. In the Energy Networks and Services team his work focuses on code governance, innovation and vulnerability. He sits on multiple government and industry working groups advocating for consumer protections. 

Before joining Citizens Advice, Ed was a policy advisor for Smart Energy GB. He led projects on the implications of smart meters for energy saving and sustainability. Ed also previously led the production of the Westminster eForum and Media Forum policy events. He is a Politics Masters graduate in regulation and governance from the University of Exeter.

Heidi Ranscombe, Senior Public Affairs Advocate

Based in the Energy Networks and Services team, Heidi leads the advocacy on European policy frameworks impacting consumers’ engagement with energy related markets. Following a traineeship in the European Commission, Heidi joined PWC’s Europe office.  Initially advising clients of its Management Consulting and Audit service lines on a wide range of EU policy areas, she later managed the relationship with the EU institutions for some of its own practices, including managing a global network of VAT partners. Prior to joining Consumer Focus, she led the policy engagement for a number of coalitions run by a public affairs consultancy, including in the energy, chemicals, product safety and consumer redress sectors.

Sam Hughes, Senior Policy Researcher

Sam joined Citizens Advice in 2019.  He works in the Energy Networks and Systems team. He works on energy networks and their social obligations, particularly those that affect customers in vulnerable circumstances. He also covers the gas distribution industry, future of heat and is responsible for the domestic consumer seat on the Uniform Network Code (UNC) and the Connection and Use of System Code (CUSC). He also works on energy efficiency and fuel poverty policy in Wales and is a member of the Welsh Government fuel poverty advisory panel. Prior to working at Citizens Advice, he worked for over 6 years in a Parliamentary role, advocating on a range of energy and consumer protection issues.

Abby Jitendra, Principal Policy Manager - Supplier Performance and Monitoring

Abby has worked at Citizens Advice since January 2020. She currently leads on our supplier engagement and monitoring work, with a focus on maximising impact and influence across our team’s work. Abby is currently on secondment from the Citizens Advice Campaigns and Public Affairs team where she led campaigns on household finances and the hostile environment, and previously led on policy and research for anti-poverty charity the Trussell Trust.

Alex Belsham-Harris, Principal Policy Manager - Retail Energy Policy  

Alex has worked at Citizens Advice since 2015. He currently leads our retail energy policy work, with a focus on developing and advocating for policies which will drive better outcomes for the people contacting our advice services. Before joining Citizens Advice, Alex worked at Ofgem on sustainable energy policy.

Read Alex’s blogs

Aiden Greenall, Policy Research Assistant  

Aiden joined the Energy Retail team in October 2020.  Aiden focuses on policy projects exploring the consumer implications of the future retail market and monitoring supplier performance. Before joining Citizens Advice, he worked at a non-profit advocating for and researching LGBTQ+ health policy. Aiden has an MPhil in Multi-Disciplinary Gender Studies from Cambridge.

Arun Rao, Senior Policy Researcher

Arun has been working in the Energy Retail Markets Team since March 2019. His role primarily involves overseeing the domestic energy suppliers’ star rating project and leading on advocacy for regulation in the micro-business energy market. Before joining Citizens Advice, Arun worked at C40 Cities, an international climate change NGO, helping advocate for more ambitious climate action. Additionally, he has experience in sustainability consultancy and building energy efficiency. Arun hold an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation and another in Materials for Energy and the Environment.

Colin Griffiths, Senior Policy Researcher

Colin is part of the energy retail markets team, leading on smart metering and smart homes with the goal of ensuring that the rollout of smart meters delivers a net benefit to consumers and keeps their needs at its heart. His work focuses particularly on the consumer experience of smart metering, ensuring consumers retain control and transparency of how their data is used and technical issues with potential impacts on consumers. He sits on a range of government and industry working groups and boards. He is also involved in wider cross-sector issues around smart homes and new data-driven consumer services as well as consumer data issues including data privacy and the potential impacts of AI and machine learning on consumer markets.

Connie Thorn, Policy Researcher

Connie joined the Energy Retail team in November 2019. Connie focuses on policy surrounding smart meters and monitoring domestic supplier performance. Before joining Citizens Advice, Connie held various positions at a number of different non-profit organisations. She has an MSc in Public Policy from UCL.

Farhana Begum, Policy Research Assistant

Farhana joined the Energy Retail team in April 2021. Her work focuses on monitoring the performance of non-domestic energy suppliers. Before joining Citizens Advice she worked as a litigation Assistant. She holds an LLB from the Open University.

Faye Brookes Lewis, Policy Research Assistant

Faye joined the Energy Retail team in November 2019. Faye works across a number of policy and research areas, with a particular focus on monitoring the performance of domestic energy suppliers. Before working at Citizens Advice, she was a sabbatical officer at her students’ union. She has a BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics from the LSE.

Jennifer Lucas-Williams, Senior Policy Researcher 

Jenni joined the Energy Retail Markets team in April 2014. The team works on GB and European policy and regulation affecting the retail market. Jenni's main area of focus is around developing our work on the reputational regulation of suppliers. Particularly with regard to the publication of supplier complaints and customer service performance. Other areas she is currently working on include our work on billing and Third Party Intermediaries / Price Comparison Websites. Prior to joining Citizens Advice, Jenni worked as the Confidence Code Manager at Consumer Futures where she was responsible for running a code of practice for energy switching websites.

Read Jenni's blogs.

Jess Collins, Policy Research Assistant 

Jess Collins joined the Energy Retail team as a policy research assistant in April 2021. They work across the team, focusing on supplier monitoring and the smart meter roll-out. Before joining the retail team, Jess worked as an intern in Future Energy Services, researching smart tariffs. They have a BA from Northwestern University in Anthropology and Political Science. While in Chicago Jess worked with community organizations on a number of projects, from retrofitting low-income households in Evanston, to teaching guitar with Girls Rock! Chicago.

Lynzi Duncan, Policy Researcher 

Lynzi joined the Energy Retail Markets Team in March 2021. As well as engaging with energy suppliers to improve their customer service, Lynzi has an interest in vulnerability policy and providing support to consumers in vulnerable circumstances. Prior to joining the Energy Retail Markets Team at Citizens Advice, Lynzi worked as a legislative researcher in the Expert Advice Team at Citizens Advice. Lynzi holds an MA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations, an M.Litt in International Politics and Security, an M.Res in Political Research and is in the final stages of a PhD in Politics at the University of Sheffield.

Maisie Gibson, Policy Researcher

Maisie has recently joined the Energy Retail Markets Team at Citizens Advice. Prior to joining, Maisie was a policy adviser within the Department for Education. She also holds a MA in the Philosophy of Health and Happiness and has been a member of an NHS Research Ethics Committee.

Tom Crisp, Senior Policy Researcher

Tom joined Citizens Advice in 2019 and is a member of the retail energy team. He has a focus on switching, billing and customer communications, as well as the joint BEIS/Ofgem review of future retail market design. Tom previously worked at Cornwall Insight, where he edited the key industry publication Energy Spectrum. Prior to this he worked in parliamentary roles.

Secondments

Elizabeth Blakelock, Principal Policy Manager (on secondment until April 2022)

Elizabeth joined the Energy Retail Markets team in 2017. Her main focus is delivering rigorous insight on Retail Market outcomes for consumers through monitoring industry performance. This work ensures that Citizens Advice can deliver leading research and advocacy on domestic and micro-business consumer experience to ensure appropriate regulation and policy in energy markets. Prior to joining Citizen Advice, Elizabeth worked on affordability challenges in the UK energy markets in industry and as an academic researcher.

Farhana Yeasmin, Policy Researcher (on secondment until April 2022)

Farhana joined the Energy Team in March 2018, firstly as part of the Energy Retail Markets team and now in the Future Energy Services team. Her current focus is leading on local and community energy work strands which aim to look at decentralisation as part of the decarbonisation agenda and how to ensure consumers are getting the support they need. Before joining the policy team, Farhana was a volunteer at a local Citizens Advice.