• Stakeholder panel


    As a business, it’s important we can make decisions that support the priorities of our customers and stakeholders both now and into the future. Our panel was brought together to discuss the strategic issues facing our business so we can receive members’ valuable feedback and advice to help us improve our performance. Since the panel’s inception we have continued to refine the structure and content of the panel with panel members. 

    Aims and responsibilities 


    The aim of the panel is to allow our leadership team to draw on the diverse experience and expertise of senior advisors who operate within our wider stakeholder environment. They constructively challenge and make suggestions, encouraging us to continually improve our understanding of the needs of our stakeholders and customers. 

    They provide feedback and inform our decision making processes in areas such as:

    • our stakeholder submission
    • stakeholder strategy
    • communications strategy
    • innovation and new ideas 
    • facilitating mutually beneficial partnerships 




    Our stakeholder panel brings together representatives from a wide range of sectors and interests, including industry and the third sector. The panel is chaired by Maxine Frerk, who has experience in all aspects of regulation for a number of organisations, including Ofgem.

    Individual members’ biographies are shown below:

    Maxine Frerk (Chair) 
    Until recently Maxine was Senior Partner Distribution Networks at Ofgem where her responsibilities included all aspects of regulation of the gas distribution networks and where she secured a stronger focus on the future of gas as a key issue for Ofgem. Earlier in her Ofgem career she led on consumer policy including Ofgem’s work on fuel poverty and on consumer engagement, including the establishment of Ofgem’s own consumer challenge group. She has also been heavily involved in smart metering including a 2 year secondment to DECC where she put in place the arrangements for Smart Energy GB to support consumers through the rollout. Prior to joining Ofgem she worked for BT in a range of roles including pricing, strategy and regulation.


    Christine Tate 
    Christine is a freelance Consultant and Coach, supporting commercial organisations to develop and implement their corporate citizenship strategy. She also works with the public sector and not-for-profit organisations, to optimise funding and provide integrated services to improve the education, health and wellbeing of residents. She helps national and local charities establish commercial partnerships and build their brand.

    Christine has worked in the energy industry for over 30 years and in senior leadership positions across several disciplines, including Training and Development, Human Resources, Call Centre and Contract Management.


    Maria Wardrobe 
    Maria is currently Director of Communications and External Relations with NEA, the national fuel poverty and energy efficiency charity, responsible for a team which develops and delivers NEA’s Campaigns, Public Affairs, Income Generation, Grant awarding, Publicity, Marketing, Media, Events and Membership services within the organisation. She has worked for NEA for 23 years.

    Maria has extensive experience of campaigning at a national level, organising and speaking at regional and national events and broadcasting on local and national radio and TV. She is responsible for the Secretariat for the All-Party Fuel Poverty and Energy Efficiency Group (FPEEG); Chairs the Age Action Alliance Safe Warm Homes Working Group; and is a member of the SGN Stakeholder Engagement Advisory Panel and Northern Gas Networks Stakeholder Panel. 


    Richard Lowes 
    Following a masters in Energy Policy, Richard worked with SSE on policy and government relations. Richard then moved across to SGN, which is part owned by SSE. In his role at SGN, Richard led on work around Government energy policy, focussing on issues around heat and gas policy and the future of the gas grid. He was also heavily involved in the development of regulation and policy around green sources of gas as SGN grew its biomethane business.

    In 2014, Richard moved to the University of Exeter to begin a PhD focussing on the politics of UK heat policy. Alongside this, he has also started working on a major UK Energy Research Centre project investigating the role of businesses in a low-carbon heating future and is also involved with the FutureGas project in Denmark. Richard’s experience brings expertise around heat policy, governance and policy to the SGN’s stakeholder advisory group. 

    Richard is a member of the Energy Institute and the UK Energy Research centre and is a Chartered Environmentalist.


    Ollie Pendered 
    Ollie specialises in developing grass roots communications and engagement initiatives. He set up Communities Matter an engagement company leading sustainable change engagement initiatives who have established a network of Energy Café's and Pop-Up Energy Advice shops across Kent and Sussex.

    Ollie is a driving force in Local Community Energy across the south east having co-founded the Community Energy South (CES) network that he chairs today. In 2016-17 Ollie was seconded to the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to represent Community Energy and to develop Local Energy Partnerships with Communities, Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the South East of England.


    Lucy McTernan 
    Lucy is Deputy Chief Executive of Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), having held various posts with SCVO over the last 20 years, including Acting CEO.

    She spent seven years as a non-executive with The Big Lottery Fund and is also former Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, and held the post of Adviser to the Third Sector Unit of Scottish Government. She has served as a trustee on various charities’ boards and is a founder member of the Scottish Voluntary Sector Credit Union.


    Audrey Gallagher 
    Audrey has an extensive background in the energy sector, initially with the regulator Ofgem as Head of Consumer Affairs in Scotland.  She moved into energy consumer advocacy in 2000 when she became National Director in Scotland for energywatch, before moving to lead its GB work on company performance, research and advice. More recently she has held Director of Energy positions with the statutory watchdog, Consumer Futures and at the charity Citizens Advice.   


    If you would like any information on our panel or meetings, please email us: lets.chat@sgn.co.uk