Today (29 September 2023), SONI Limited (System Operator for Northern Ireland) has announced it will appoint four new independent Board members. The appointments will officially take effect from 1st October 2023.
As Northern Ireland’s Transmission System Operator (TSO), SONI plans and manages the electricity transmission system to ensure power can flow from where it is generated to where it is needed.
The four new Board members are:
The appointment of new independent Board members marks the first major milestone in the implementation of a decision made by the Utility Regulator which required changes in SONI’s Transmission System Operator licence.
Speaking about the appointments, SONI Managing Director, Alan Campbell, said:
“SONI ensures the safe and secure flow of electricity from where it is generated to where it is needed. The appointment of our new Board marks a new and exciting milestone in our journey as Northern Ireland’s Transmission System Operator.”
“At this crucial time in the energy transition, our team looks forward to working with the new Board members, who each bring considerable expertise and experience, to drive forward our mission to deliver a cleaner energy future for everyone in Northern Ireland.”
In addition to managing the flow of electricity through the transmission system, SONI is tasked with planning the upgrades to the grid to support the delivery of the Northern Ireland Energy Strategy.
Newly appointed SONI Chair and former Chief Executive of Belfast City Council, Dr Peter McNaney CBE, said:
“Northern Ireland has made significant progress over the last number years and has been highly successful to date in the integration of renewable energy onto the electricity grid, and SONI has played a key role in this progress. In the coming years, delivering the challenging ambitions set by the Northern Ireland Energy Strategy and Climate Change Act is going to require a step change in intensity of ideas, collaboration, and delivery within the energy industry and beyond.
“Along with the other new members of the Board, I look forward to working with the team in SONI to deliver its vision for the future and ensuring it can thrive as a successful Transmission System Operator for the benefit of consumers, local communities, businesses and farms across Northern Ireland.”
Peter McNaney has a wealth of experience in senior leadership roles in Northern Ireland gained in both executive and non-executive roles in corporate governance, shaping strategy and effective implementation, leading change and successfully facilitating complex partnerships.
He practised as a corporate lawyer for 20 years before serving as Chief Executive of Belfast City Council between 2001-14. During his time in the Council, he led a large-scale change programme which transformed the Council’s financial health and delivery capacity resulting in the creation of a £400m City Investment Strategy.
As a non-executive, he was Chair of the Governing body of Belfast Metropolitan College and oversaw the building and move to the Titanic campus. He has also served as a member of the Board of Invest NI.
He is presently the senior independent director and Chair of the Audit Committee of Northern Ireland Water and recently stood down as Chair of the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust after 9 years.
He is currently a member of the Council of the University of Ulster and is Chair of its Greater Belfast Development committee which is responsible for oversight of the completion of its new £350m inner city campus.
Peter Ewing is an experienced director of finance and electricity regulation and leader of business change. With over 25 years’ experience, Peter has been closely involved in the transformation of the electricity industry in Northern Ireland since privatisation. He has overseen multiple price controls, capital investment, IT systems implementation and acquisitions and disposals across the electricity value chain in relation to the transmission and distribution and supply of electricity, transmission system operation, interconnectors and renewable energy projects.
He has extensive corporate governance experience gained through Board positions and played a key role in delivering corporate strategies. Peter was previously Director of Finance and Regulation at Northern Ireland Electricity and the Viridian Group, Deputy Managing Director and Director of Regulation and Market Operations at NIE Networks, and a Non-Executive Board Member and Treasurer at Radius Housing. Prior to this he was Finance Director at Moy Park.
A graduate of Manchester and Queen’s Universities, Peter has completed the Advanced Management Programme at the INSEAD Business School. Peter is a Fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland and an alumnus of the Philadelphia based Eisenhower Fellowships.
Angela Love has over 30 years’ experience in the GB/EU gas and electricity markets and brings extensive expertise from across most aspects of the energy system. She started her career at Scottish Power in commercial and financial roles, latterly as UK Strategy and External Affairs Manager for Scottish Power’s non-price regulated businesses - generation, trading, retail and renewables.
Angela was a consultant for 13 years, advising clients on market arrangements across gas, electricity and water and developing business strategies. Her past roles include Chair of the Gas Forum, Director of Gas, Communications and European Affairs at the Energy Networks Association and Director of Future Markets and Engagement at Elexon. Whilst at Elexon, Angela was responsible for establishing the £90m Market-wide Half Hourly Settlement Programme and directed it for more than 18 months. She is also Chair of Scottish Power’s Energy Networks Independent Net Zero Advisory Committee.
Angela has a passion for consumers, in particular the vulnerable and fuel poor and has devoted a lot of time to customer wellbeing and safety. As such, she was a Trustee of the Gas Safe Charity for nine years and has been a member of Ofgem’s Stakeholder Engagement and Customer Vulnerability Panel for six years. Angela is Chair of the GB Smart Energy Code Panel and Board and an independent consultant.
Charlie Villar is an executive with finance, operations, and transformation experience. He has worked on Boards, as well as with senior officials, regulators and Ministers across Electricity, Post, Telecommunications, Broadcast Media, and Water sectors in GB, NI and Europe.
In these roles, he has developed a diverse understanding of the regulatory, economic and commercial drivers across a range of industries, and how to lead organisations through major transformations.
Charlie is a qualified accountant and has an MA in Geography from Oxford University.