Introducing the Future Networks Forum

Formerly known as the ENA Smart Technology Working Group (STWG), the Future Networks Forum was launched in March 2023. With the STWG’s areas of interest and discussion having broadened considerably beyond simply ‘smart technology’, it was deemed appropriate to reset the focus and repurpose the group to best meet the needs of both consumers and the sector overall.

One of the key changes in the approach of the Future Networks Forum, co-chaired by Sam Elder (Orion) and James Tipping (Vector), will be to become as outward/sector-facing as it has been internal/electricity distribution business-facing, and to best work with sector partners to deliver the future consumers want.

While the STWG has enjoyed strong membership from a wide range of EDBs, the FNF is keen to grow its membership and ensure as many EDBs are represented as possible. Any EDB representatives keen to express an interest in participating in one or more of the three workstreams is welcome to do so at

Details of the first quarterly innovation forum, and the annual unconference, will be confirmed in the coming months. Meeting papers and progress reports will be published regularly on this site. 



To help deliver on its new direction, the Forum is advancing the following three key workstreams:   


  1. outreach with purpose   
  2. exploring the future, clarifying context and setting direction    
  3. delivering aligned solutions


The outreach workstream will entail developing a deliberate engagement plan, including by using external channels, to increase understanding of consumers’ and stakeholders’ evolving needs and pain points in their interfaces with EDBs. The direction, development plans and solutions will be tested with other ENA working groups as well as relevant industry groups and stakeholders.


Recognising that one of the most valued benefits of the STWG was the chance to connect with peers across the ENA and share challenges, opportunities and ideas, the workstream will organise quarterly ‘innovation forums’ open to representatives from all EDBs (replacing the previous STWG meetings, and discussing progress in the three main workstreams), and an annual ‘unconference’ for stakeholders from the whole sector.


The future context and direction workstream will explore existing sector assumptions, inflexion points and potential 2050 scenarios, and build greater understanding of consumer and stakeholder segmentation and the decarbonisation journey. This workstream will also explore and agree the future roles and functions of EDBs in those scenarios.


The aligned solutions workstream will coordinate with EDBs, the EEA, retailers, flexibility providers, DG investors, Transpower and other stakeholders to develop aligned solutions that work for the whole system. These will be particularly focused on areas where consistency between EDBs is important.


One of the key outputs of the STWG was the Network Transformation Roadmap (NTR) in 2019 (, which was reviewed and updated in 2022. The FNF will take the lead in reporting progress against the NTR and ensuring it stays fit for purpose.


Any representatives from EDBs seeking further information or wanting to express interest in participating in the FNF or attending its events should contact the FNF at


Sam Elder (Orion New Zealand) – Co-chair
James Tipping (Vector) – Co-chair
Dylan Andrews (Electra)
Peter Armstrong (EA Networks)
Paul Blue (Counties Energy)
Andre Botha (Vector)
Andrew Camuso (Northpower)
Glenn Coates (Aurora Energy)
Craig Conlan (Network Waitaki)
Dyson Gentle (PowerNet)
Saurabh Rajvanshi (The Lines Company)
Murray Henderson (Transpower)
Jackson Lung (Wellington Electricity)
Garry Heyes (Orion New Zealand)
Andrew Mulligan (MainPower NZ)
Mat O'Neill (WEL Networks)
Jaun Park (Unison Networks)
Mike Parker (Transpower)
Waqar Qureshi (Horizon Energy Group)
Renato Bitac (Aurora Energy)
Luz Rose (Vector)
Matt Smith (Vector)
Brendan Sutherland (Marlborough Lines)
Ryno Verster (Powerco)
Feng Wu (Horizon Energy Group)
Lingsong Zheng (WEL Networks)
Johan Hendriks (Alpine Energy)
Richard Le Gros (Electricity Networks Aotearoa)


Click here to read more about the electrification of New Zealand's energy needs.


ENA members can login to the full FNF pages here.