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Open words meet open ears


First meeting of the Stromnetz Berlin GmbH customer advisory board

First meeting of the Stromnetz Berlin GmbH customer advisory board

Transparency, the energy revolution, security of supply, electricity prices and innovation: these are the most pressing topics for the 24 members of the newly founded customer advisory board of Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, the operator of the capital city's electricity distribution grid. These priorities emerged at the group's first meeting, which took place yesterday on the company's premises.

Over the next three years, the board, which is made up of representatives from all 12 Berlin districts, will be tasked with championing the concerns of the city's 2.3 million electricity grid customers. Following the meeting, Dr Helmar Rendez, Chairman of the Management Board at Stromnetz Berlin GmbH, explains why the company decided to set up the board: "No amount of market research and anonymous questionnaires can match the direct impact that you get when talking to your customers. We see the board as a very important tool for improving customer service."

From the members' perspective, taking part in the board is a good way to have a say in their city's electricity supply. "The electricity grid is one of the lifelines of our city. I am delighted that we Berliners finally have the chance to be closely involved in decisions relating to this important infrastructure and that our wishes and ideas are being heard by company management," commented one board member.

In addition to three regular meetings held throughout the year, when the board will discuss topics of its choice and present its recommendations to Stromnetz Berlin company management, trips and talks will be organised to give the board members greater insight into the energy industry and the electricity grid in particular. In addition, Stromnetz Berlin is making sure that the board members are closely involved in the development of new formats of customer dialogue. With the board's help, the company is currently working on a concept called "electrical city tours". Using successful city tours as a model, Stromnetz Berlin plans to give residents of the capital city the chance to get to know places that are usually hidden to them, such as substations or underground grid stations. Participants would learn about the complex infrastructure that a city like Berlin needs for its electricity supply. The tours and other dialogue formats are expected to run from the beginning of 2015.

The initial spark for the launch of the customer advisory board was a customer workshop that took place at the start of 2014. Stromnetz Berlin had invited people to the workshop to find out how customers wanted to get involved with their electricity grid operator. The advisory board was right at the top at their list. And so, in autumn, the company called on all Berliners aged 16 or over to apply for a place on the board. The members were then selected under the supervision of a notary to ensure that the advisory board would accurately represent the capital city's residents. The term of office is three years.