AER’s Gill Owen Memorial Lecture

Special report
Event date: 
7 February 2018
Release date: 
22 February 2018


On 7 February 2018, the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) held a Memorial Lecture in honour of Gill Owen at the State Library of Victoria.

The lecture commemorated Dr Gill Owen and her contribution in helping the AER improve consumer participation in its decision-making to set network revenues.

Sharon Darcy, a UK energy consumer expert, delivered the keynote address: Beyond Window Dressing, which focussed on putting consumer interests at the heart of company and regulatory decision making, particularly in light of a rapidly transforming energy sector.

About Sharon Darcy

Sharon is a champion of consumer concerns in energy and water. Sharon was elected to the Council of Which? in January 2015 and was formerly a long-standing board member of Consumer Futures and its predecessor bodies (Consumer Focus and energywatch). She is a member of the UK Regulators Network Expert Panel, a board member of the Solicitors Regulation Authority and a member of Ofgem's Consumer Progress Panel that provides advice on the implementation of CMA energy market investigation remedies.

A qualified accountant, Sharon began her career working on value for money studies in the privatisation and regulation team at the National Audit Office. Until 2016, she was a Trustee of the new workplace pension provider NEST where she chaired the Risk Committee, and until March 2017 a lay member of the Standards Committee of the House of Commons. For the last six years, Sharon was a member of Ofgem’s panel to assess the network innovation competitions, plus a member of the Ofgem ‘Consumer Challenge Group’ (ensuring that the consumer interest is represented in setting prices for monopoly energy businesses). She was a member of Ofwat’s Customer Advisory Panel for the 2014 water price review and the previous Ofwat Future Regulation Advisory Panel. Previous roles also include chair of a Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Dr Owen’s work with the AER

Dr Gill Owen was also instrumental in assisting the AER’s establishment of the Consumer Challenge Panel and was a founding member of the group, which helps the AER make better regulatory determinations by providing input of importance to consumers. She was also involved in many other projects focussing on sustainability and vulnerable consumers.