Consumer champ is new smart meter body boss

A marketing man with a history of championing consumers particularly in the medical arena is taking the helm at the body responsible for helping the public understand smart meters. Sacha […]

Register now!

By Vicky Ellis

A marketing man with a history of championing consumers particularly in the medical arena is taking the helm at the body responsible for helping the public understand smart meters.

Sacha Deshmukh will be new chief executive for the Smart Meter Delivery Body, it was announced today.

It’s no small task on his plate, as helping people understand smart meters is crucial to the success of a multi-million pound roll-out of smart meters to every home and small business in Great Britain.

Formerly a senior partner of the marketing services group which he founded, the Engine Group, Mr Deshmukh also spent time as a non-executive director at Consumer Futures, the official body for consumers.

Mr Deshmukh said: “We have a unique opportunity, but also a clear responsibility, to create strong and widespread consumer confidence and support for the benefits of smart meters.  I want to build an organisation that will be innovative in the ways that it engages consumers, and ensure that the benefits of smart meters reach all consumers including those from vulnerable and low income communities.”

Baroness McDonagh, Chairman of the Smart Meter Central Delivery Body added: “We have found a real consumer champion in Sacha Deshmukh… [He] has the business experience and skills to build a new organisation but also a passion forged through frontline consumer advocacy that will be critical”.

The new smart metering chief is unafraid to express his views online, regularly blogging about health policy while CEO of communications agency MHP which is part of the Engine Group.

His twitter account reveals a few casual brushes with energy already. The comms man once complained about National Grid’s “shocking service” when asked to wait in all day for gas pipework to be done “only to find out [it’s] not happening today”.

He’ll be aware how heated the debate around rising fuel costs can be, last year tweeting about MP Chloe Smith’s notorious run in with Jeremy Paxman after a Coalition U-turn on fuel duty. He tweeted: “Eek. Chloe Smith on Newsnight more painful than fingernails on a blackboard…” In another message he added: “she’s like a media training car crash”.