Blog: Energy needs a woman’s touch…

It’s like a game of cards. You play a round, someone wins. You shuffle the deck, play again. Then reshuffle. It’s what the British Government has been doing so far. […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

It’s like a game of cards. You play a round, someone wins. You shuffle the deck, play again. Then reshuffle.

It’s what the British Government has been doing so far. Playing a couple of card games.

We had a reshuffle in 2012 when John Hayes replaced Charles Hendry as Energy Minister. Fast forward a few months and another reshuffle saw MP for Portsmouth and Business Minister Michael Fallon join the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), replacing Mr Hayes.

And just a few months ago, an additional reshuffle saw Mr Fallon leave his post – replaced by Matthew Hancock.

That was the 14th energy minister in 16 years!

Now, where is the consistency in that?

If you take an organisation, the person that heads it is crucial for it to develop, expand and succeed. Because if the person is constant, he or she knows how to better the business.

And that, in my opinion, is even more appropriate in the energy industry. This is a sector that needs consistency – not one Minister promising a policy or backing an energy source only to be replaced by another Minister opposed to them.

But it seems the UK Government is in chaos with its constant Ministerial changes.

However newly appointed Energy and Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd who joined DECC in the latest reshuffle disagrees.

“You couldn’t be more wrong”, she said, referring to former Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker’s “continuity” within Government – before he decided to resign.

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing her.

What was she like? Definitely not the typical Tory Minister you may expect. She seemed nice and friendly – not the ‘scary-looking-you-can’t-talk-to-me’ aura you get from some politicians – and definitely ambitious and professional.

She is one of the first few female Energy Ministers in Government, which made me think – Did David Cameron decide to put a woman opposite Labour MP and Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint? Put two women against each other in the energy debate?

Or was it just a case of putting the criticisms of the Conservative’s “women problem” to rest?

Regardless, we’re constantly talking about needing more women in the sector, working at the board room level but could this industry fare better with a bit of a woman’s touch in Government itself?

The newly appointed Energy and Climate Change Minister surely seems keen on taking on the challenges facing the energy industry head on.

Although her portfolio is largely renewables and focus on mainly domestic customers, she has pledged to help businesses and make the case for energy efficiency and greening the country overall as well as give firms the certainty they need in the sector while looking after the bill payer.

A lot of pledges and a lot of promises to keep in this constantly changing sector.

Let’s just hope Ms Rudd is given enough time to deliver on those promises and David Cameron’s ministerial merry-go-round at DECC stops here.

For now at least…