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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 (Interim)

Gillian Cooper is the interim Head of Energy Policy at Citizens Advice, leading the organisation’s policy work as the statutory energy consumer advocate.

Gillian has been a consumer advocate in the energy sector for over 14 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 16 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.

Colin Griffiths, Senior Policy Researcher

Colin is part of the Future Energy Services 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.

Ed Rees, Policy Researcher

Ed joined Citizens Advice in November 2018. In the Future Energy Services team his work focuses on advocating for consumer benefits and protections in the rollout of smart meters and the provision of future domestic energy services. 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.

Lauren Snoxell, Policy Researcher (vulnerability lead)

Lauren joined the Future Energy Services Team in March 2018. Since joining her work has focussed on energy efficiency, heat networks, the smart meter roll out and electric vehicles. She now leads the energy team’s work on vulnerability. Prior to joining Citizens Advice, Lauren worked for the Renewable Energy Association focussing on transport.

Peter Broad, Senior Policy Researcher

Peter is the team’s lead on energy efficiency policy. He is working to make sure current and future policies deliver high quality energy efficiency measures to the consumers that need them, while delivering value for money and consumer protection. He represents consumers on government and industry working groups, such as the Energy Company Obligation delivery group.

Before joining Citizens Advice, Peter worked on energy policy for our predecessor organisations, Consumer Focus and Consumer Futures. He previously worked in Brussels on EU policy and funding for local authorities.

Read Peter's blogs.

Rajni Nair, Senior Policy Researcher

Rajni joined the Future Energy Services team in October 2016. She now leads on Welsh energy policy and smart appliances. In previous roles, she worked on smart metering policy, sitting on multiple government and industry working groups advocating for consumer protections. Before joining Citizens Advice, she worked for the Welsh Government as a Safeguarding and Deprivation officer within education.

Read Rajni’s blogs.

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.

Stew Horne, Principal Policy Manager - Energy Networks and Systems

Stew leads the Energy Networks and Systems team, which focuses on how the energy system and networks are regulated in the interests of consumers. Stew’s background is in government and energy regulation. During 4 years at Ofgem he led work on consumer empowerment, prepayment meters and the Confidence Code. Earlier in his career Stew worked on a number of high profile consumer projects in central government including nutritional labelling and digital television switchover.

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.   

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.

James Kerr, Senior Policy Researcher

James joined Citizens Advice in January 2018 on secondment from National Grid where he facilitated customer connections to the GB transmission and distribution networks. Prior to National Grid, he worked at Groundwork Cheshire delivering projects, such as the Green Doctor programme and new playgrounds, to vulnerable communities.

Joel Atherton, Senior Policy Researcher

Joel joined Citizens Advice in 2017. He works in the Energy Networks and Systems Team, ​a major focus of his work is ​scrutinising network companies' price controls and how networks are regulated in the interests of consumers. He sits as the Consumer Representative on the gas industry’s Uniform Network Code (UNC) panel. Previously he was researching his PhD at the LSE, and he holds an MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change from the LSE. Earlier in his career Joel worked for a number of not-for-profit and environmental policy organisations.

Read Joel’s blogs.

Victoria Pelka, Senior Policy Researcher

Victoria joined Citizens Advice in 2016. She works as part of the Energy Networks and Systems team to monitor the performance of energy network companies and the impact of system changes on consumers. Victoria sits on various Customer Engagement Groups, challenging the Business Plans that gas and electricity companies are putting together for the next 5 years. She leads our work on half-hourly settlement reform, networks’ stakeholder engagement and network impacts of Electric Vehicles. Before joining Citizens Advice, Victoria worked as a research consultant, evaluating charity and Government projects in the UK and abroad. She holds an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation from the LSE. 

Alex Belsham-Harris, Principal Policy Manager - Retail Energy Policy (Interim)

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

Elizabeth Errington, Principal Policy Manager (Interim)

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 on affordability challenges in the UK energy markets in industry and as an academic researcher.

Alice Brett, Senior Policy Researcher

Alice joined the Energy team in September 2016.  Her work mainly focuses in the retail market, leading on domestic supplier performance and supplier licence reforms.  She also works on the future energy consumers, future of heat, and climate change as part of cross-team working groups.

Read Alice’s blogs

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 holds an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation and another in Materials for Energy and the Environment.

Farhana Yeasmin, Policy Research Assistant

Farhana joined the Energy Retail Markets Team in March 2018. Her role is largely based on supplier monitoring. She is also involved with work on small business suppliers and policy development in this area. Before joining Citizens Advice, Farhana graduated with a degree in Politics and spent time volunteering as a gateway assessor at a Local Citizens Advice.

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.

Krista Kruja, Policy Researcher

Krista has been working in the Energy Retail Markets Team at Citizens Advice since November 2018. Krista focuses about half her time on supplier monitoring and the rest on various policy and research areas relating to consumer protection in the energy sector. In her prior experiences, Krista has worked as a consultant for health policy and public health research projects. She also holds an MSc in Health Policy, Planning and Financing.

Rachel Mills, Policy Researcher

Rachel joined the Energy Retail Markets Team in January 2019. Her role focuses on supplier monitoring and vulnerability policy. Before joining Citizens Advice, she worked for an education policy research charity and in both frontline and customer insight roles at a housing association. She has a degree in History and completed the Charityworks graduate programme.

Thomas Brooke Bullard, Policy Research Assistant

Tom joined Citizens Advice in April 2018, and moved over to the Energy Retail Markets Team in August 2018. He works across a number of areas, with a particular focus on monitoring the smart meter rollout and general supplier monitoring. Before joining Citizens Advice, Tom worked for various not-for-profit organisations. He holds an MA in Public Policy from King’s College London.

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 and Parental Leave

Victoria MacGregor, Director of Energy (on secondment)

Victoria MacGregor is Director of Energy at Citizens Advice, the leading advice provider in the country Great Britain and the statutory energy consumer advocate. She joined Citizens Advice in July 2016 and brings a unique combination of industry and front line experience to the role. Prior to joining Citizens Advice she was Chief Executive at Dacorum Citizens Advice, running an advice service supporting thousands of people every year, and prior to that Head of Public Affairs at EDF Energy for 12 years, where she led the company’s political engagement and influencing work.  Victoria has also worked at the Independent Healthcare Association and Grey Advertising.

She is currently a Non Executive Director of Smart Energy GB, a member of the UKCRED Advisory Board and the London Fuel Poverty Partnership and has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University.

Jake Beavan, Senior Policy Researcher (on secondment)

Jake joined the Energy Retail Markets team at Citizens Advice in January 2016, leading the energy team's work on vulnerability. He has a particular focus on how the energy market works for vulnerable consumers and what impact changes such as the introduction of smart meters will have on this. Before joining Citizens Advice, Jake worked as a political adviser in the Local Government Association.