Innovation and Participation Advisory Group

This group was disestablished in February 2024.


The Innovation and Participation Advisory Group (IPAG) was disestablished in February 2024 as our Board decided to establish the Electricity Authority Advisory Group.


IPAG provided independent advice to the Electricity Authority (from October 2017 to February 2024) on the development of the Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 and market facilitation measures.

IPAG focused its advice on matters relating to evolving technology and business models, and competition and consumer choice. IPAG could advise on:

  • initiatives to improve the efficient development and use of evolving technologies and business models across the supply chain, including reducing inefficient barriers to:
    • any consumers purchasing directly from the wholesale electricity market or directly from local generators
    • mass-market demand response, and aggregators of mass-market demand response
    • mass-market distributed energy resources, and aggregators of these resources, including distributed generation, batteries, micro-grids and ‘prosumer’ situations
  • initiatives to efficiently promote consumer participation through the whole supply chain, including:
    • improving consumer awareness, understanding, motivation and action by mass-market consumers
    • increasing choices available to mass-market consumers by further enhancing competition
  • any other policy matters that the Electricity Authority considered appropriate.
What is IPAG? By Chair, John Hancock.

Advice and submissions

IPAG delivered three major pieces of advice to the Electricity Authority, as follows:

1. Review of Transpower's Demand Response Programme

The Electricity Authority asked IPAG to review Transpower’s Demand Response (DR) programme and assess the implications of the Transpower DR programme for flexibility markets in the New Zealand electricity industry more widely. IPAG published their review in 2021 as follows:

2. Advice on reducing barriers to customer access to multiple electricity services

The Electricity Authority asked IPAG to consider how to reduce barriers to customers' access to multiple electricity services. Specifically, how to reduce or remove the barriers associated with:

  • access to data to supply services to a consumer
  • shared use of the distribution service to supply services to a consumer.

IPAG's approach, findings and recommendations can be found in the following document (December 2019, updated July 2021).

3. Advice on creating equal access to electricity networks

In November 2017, the Electricity Authority requested IPAG to review and advise on creating equal access to electricity networks - where anybody can connect and use any equipment they want to buy or sell electricity services.

The brief asked IPAG to advise on:

  • Whether the operation of the existing equal access framework for transmission and distribution networks is sufficiently effective at promoting competition, efficiency and reliability for the long-term benefit of consumers.
  • Potential options to strengthen the equal access framework to further promote competition, reliability and efficiency in the provision of electricity and electricity-related services, including network support services.
  • The design, costs and benefits of any changes (regulations or market facilitation measures) identified to strengthen the equal access framework.

IPAG's review, findings and implementation pathways can be found in the following document (December 2019, updated July 2021).

Watch a video about IPAG's equal access report

Meeting papers

Here is a summary of each IPAG meeting, including the agenda, actions list and meeting minutes.

23 June 2022

At this meeting:

  • Andy Doube discussed the role of IPAG over the next six months
  • Joey Au presented an update on the FSR work programme
  • Buddhika Rajapakse presented an update on the FlexForum
  • Steve Batstone presented the MDAG 100% Renewable Project Discussion
  • Calum Gunn presented the Commerce Commission’s overview on Part 4 as a continuation from IPAG #36.

5 May 2022

At this meeting the:

  • Commerce Commission presented an overview of Part 4 of the Commerce Act
  • South Island Distribution Group presented on its Distribution System Operator Roadmap
  • Ara Ake presented on the Multiple Trading Relationships Trial
  • Terry Paddy presented on ADR Alliance
  • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority presented an update on Distributed Energy Resource standards.

24 March 2022

At this meeting the:

  • Commerce Commission presented on the Targeted Information Disclosure Review
  • Scott Willis continued his presentation on community energy
  • Corrie Stobie presented on Intellihub services
  • Neil Williams presented on Vector Metering Services
  • Electricity Authority updated the group on the current workstream and plans for IPAG assistance.

10 February 2022

At this meeting the:

  • group members presented on key challenges and opportunities in the energy sector
  • Concept Consulting continued their presentation on electricity supply arrangements
  • Electricity Authority’s Market Policy team presented on the UK’s model for accessing smart meter data
  • Scott Willis presented on barriers to community energy engagement
  • Electricity Authority gave an update on MDAG’s market design changes work.

14 December 2021

At this meeting:

  • James Stevenson-Wallace welcomed new IPAG members. The new members presented on key challenges and opportunities in the sector, and John Hancock gave a refresher on previous IPAG projects
  • The South Island Distribution Group provided an update on new operating models
  • Concept Consulting continued their presentation on electricity supply arrangements for EVs
  • Transpower gave an update on the development of flexibility services and platform providers
  • Electricity Authority discussed the data and market settings in the Updating regulatory settings for distribution networks discussion paper.


IPAG was made up of 11 representatives who were appointed to represent a broad array of expertise in the electricity industry.

John Hancock

Chair - Director, Signature Consulting

John Hancock was appointed as Chair of the Innovation and Participation Advisory Group in 2018, and was reappointed from 30 May 2020 for a term of three years.

John works as an independent consultant, drawing on his deep experience in both technology and energy market deregulation. He has a 30 year career in the utilities industry, including 14 years with Ernst & Young, Capgemini and Hewlett Packard in the Asia Pacific. Operating at a Board and General Management level, he has worked with a number of large international utilities on trends in the sector and how technology can be deployed to enable their strategic response to them.

John has worked with over 50 clients in the utility industry across 11 countries. He’s a member of EECA’s Low Emission Transport Contestable Fund assessment panel.

John has authored many whitepapers on utility industry trends and leading practice. He publishes a popular weekly blog/podcast on strategic themes in the sector on Energy News.

Glenn Coates

General Manager, Asset Management and Planning, Aurora Energy

Glenn Coates has more than 30 years' experience in the electricity sector. He has held senior management roles at Orion in Christchurch and operational roles for Transpower in Wellington.

At Aurora Energy, Glenn is responsible for asset management strategy and the associated growth and lifecycle management of their network assets. He also leads the Aurora engineering teams to support the efficient and sustainable delivery of their network capex and opex projects and programmes.

Glenn has a wide range of distribution network experience including customer facing roles, research and development, planning, network performance/resilience and demand side management.

He has contributed to numerous industry working groups and is currently involved in the Electricity Networks Association Smart Technology Working Group, the Flexforum, and recently led the South Island Distribution Group investigation into new distribution operating models.

Glenn is an electrician by trade and holds a University of Canterbury B.E. Hons in electrical and electronic engineering.

Margaret Cooney

Chief Customer Officer, Octopus Energy Group

Margaret Cooney works for Octopus Energy Group as Chief Customer Officer and has previously led Powershop.

She has worked across a range of functions including operations, commercial, strategy, restructuring and capital raising in the energy and technology sectors.

Margaret holds an LLB and BCom (Economics).

Terry Paddy

Managing Director, Cortexo

Terry Paddy is the Managing Director of Cortexo, a software development company that provides a grid edge ‘Internet of Energy Things’ software platform. Cortexo implements international standard protocol software that assists in integrating and coordinating distributed energy resources. Terry is a founder member of the FlexForum in New Zealand and is on the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Energy Association of NZ.

Terry has been involved with innovation and disruption for the last 15 years and has been the NZ Software Association's president and the Canterbury Software Cluster Chair.

Prior to his move to software, Terry spent 20 years in the aviation sector, both military and commercial, giving him a firm grounding in leadership, training and assessment. He is currently an independent director on the Airways New Zealand board.

Victoria Parker

Pricing Manager, Transpower New Zealand

Victoria Parker recently joined Transpower as Pricing Manager for the grid owner.

Prior to joining Transpower, she worked in the UK as Head of Regulation for Bulb, a start-up technology company providing 100% renewable energy in the UK, Spain, France and Texas.

Victoria has also worked in gas and electricity distribution, representing network companies on UK innovation projects and charging working groups.

Before working in the UK, Victoria worked for Genesis Energy and has a background in public policy.

Buddhika Rajapakse

Senior Consultant, Concept Consulting Group

Buddhika Rajapakse has over fifteen years’ experience in delivering strategic and commercial solutions in the water, electricity and aviation sectors.

Previously, Buddhika was Manager, Energy Futures at electricity generator and retailer Mercury. He was responsible for developing strategies, thought leadership, new business opportunities and partnerships for Mercury's new energy ventures portfolio encompassing e-mobility, alternative energy carriers, battery storage and distributed energy resources, among others.

He has a deep technical, regulatory and analytical appreciation for the New Zealand electricity market from nearly ten years in roles covering high voltage transmission and trading analytics.

Buddhika has also regularly contributed to Mercury’s external engagement on regulatory policy. This spanned wholesale electricity market design, transmission pricing, grid investment, the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme and new technologies.

Tim Rudkin

Chief Executive, Saveawatt

Tim Rudkin is the CEO of Save A Watt Holdings and is responsible for the creation and implementation of Saveawatt’s digital platform development. This includes the intelligent personal assistant power switching service and New Zealand’s first consumer lead residential electricity bulk-buying platform.

Tim has a background in international finance and has been a director and investor in New Zealand based export businesses.

Andy Sibley

Chief Executive Officer, Simply Energy

Andy Sibley wears many hats as Chief Executive Officer at Simply. As well as leading, growing, guiding, and mentoring a diverse and talented bunch of people, he constantly thinks about the future in creative and imaginative ways. 

With a real passion for improving the world we live in, Andy’s the driving force behind shaping Simply to support their customers transition to a low-carbon future. When he’s not leading the team, and creating a supportive culture, he’s out and about talking with customers, looking for new partners to team up with and providing direction and vision on future technologies.

Andy came to Simply when it joined forces with Contact in 2020. During his ten years at Contact, his focus on people before process delivered significant business improvements and shifts in culture within the teams he led (as Engineering Manager, General Manager Business Improvement and Support and more recently as General Manager Innovations and Ventures).

Corrie Stobie

Product & Regulatory Manager, Intellihub Ltd

Corrie has over 20 years’ experience in New Zealand's electricity industry within varied roles. Due to her invaluable first-hand insight of several industry participants businesses and their interactions with consumers, Corrie has a strong understanding of the complexities of the industry and the need to balance this with the consumer experience, product innovation and emerging technology.

Corrie is highly experienced in the process of integrating transformation from innovation, new technologies and regulatory changes back into businesses, whilst managing the impacts and the delivery to customers.

Neil Williams

COO, Vector Metering and OnGas

Neil Williams has had a range of executive roles in the energy sector over the last 30 years, including the development of the New Zealand electricity market, trading and risk management, generation development, independent retailing, market regulation and currently OnGas LPG/Vector Metering.

Neil has been involved in international generation and market development in Australasia, Asia, Chile, Germany and the USA.

Scott Willis

Director, Climate Navigator

Scott Willis is a Director at Climate Navigator, a purpose-drive social enterprise and consultancy working with organisations across the public and private sectors.

His work in the community sector over the last 12 years has involved creating energy literacy, energy efficiency and enabling innovation in community energy.

He has a special interest in the democratisation of New Zealand’s electricity sector and distributed energy.

Scott also provides project management of the Otago Home Upgrade Programme at Aukaha Limited, a Kaupapa Māori organisation, and is a regular contributor to the Otago Daily Times on sustainability, climate adaptation and energy issues.

Key documents