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Search begins for new Utility Regulator as Pyper retires after seven years

Jenny Pyper is stepping down as chief executive of the north's Utility Regulator
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE first-ever female chief executive of the north's Utility Regulator is retiring from the role in the autumn after what will be seven years at the helm.

Career civil servant Jenny Pyper took up the post in November 2013 in succession to Shane Lynch.

During her tenure she is credited with transforming the organisation into a more outward looking and collaborative regulator while robustly protecting Northern Ireland's energy and water consumers.

In her time in office the regulator secured financial penalties of £720,000 in enforcement activities while charitable donations to fuel poverty charities totalled nearly £750,000.

The delivery of a new cross border wholesale electricity market worth over £2 billion, which went live in 2018, also happened under her leadership.

She has also spearheaded the impressive growth in the natural gas network across the north, including Gas to the West, and the investment necessary to meet government renewable generation targets.

The staff Ms Pyper presided over at the regulator's Belfast city centre base included economists, engineers, accountants, utility specialists, legal advisers and administration professionals.

“After almost seven years of challenging but very fulfilling work as Utility Regulator chief executive, I have decided now is the right time for me to step down,” she said, adding that she was "very proud" of what has been achieved to protect the interests of energy and water consumers in the region.

“I have agreed to stay until the autumn to enable the appointment of my successor and to facilitate a short handover period.

“Until then I remain fully focused on progressing major regulatory price control reviews and other significant strategic challenges, including input to a new energy strategy for Northern Ireland.”

Bill Emery, who chairs the Utility Regulator board, said: “Jenny has been an outstanding chief executive and we thank her for her fantastic leadership and commitment, as well as for agreeing to stay on while we progress the recruitment of a successor.”

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