Gas Utilisation: Forces for change speakers


Jonathan Samuel, Chief Executive Officer, Gas Safe Register

A Chartered Manager with 30 years’ experience principally within the gas, energy and utilities sector, Jonathan began his career as a gas service engineer in 1987 and later joined CORGI as a field inspector. In 2009, he played a key role in the design and transition to the new Gas Safe Register service for the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Presentation summary: What next for Gas Safe Register?

With a new five-year contract due to commence on 1 April, Jonathan will be sharing his vision and priorities for 2020 to 2024, including how the register will continue to raise awareness of gas safety amongst the UK’s 26 million gas customers and help engineers apply their competence in order to keep themselves, their customers and the general public safe.


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Neil Macdonald, Technical Manager, Heating and Hot Water Industry Council (HHIC)

Neil manages and co-ordinates HHIC’s UK domestic heating industry input to various technical and policy-focused projects and work-streams. Joining as Technical Manager in 2015, and with over 15 years’ experience in the energy sector, his earlier career was spent in engineering, training, and safety assurance roles, with British Gas.

Presentation summary: The Future Homes Standard: Changes to Part L and Part F of the Building Regulations for new dwellings

Set to be introduced by 2025, the Future Homes standard will require all new build homes to be futureproofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency. Stuart’s presentation will focus on proposed changes to the Building Regulations for new dwellings and the impact these will have on engineers working in domestic properties.


Bob Kerr, Gas Services Director, Gas Safe Register

In his current role, Bob leads a customer focused team at Gas Safe Register that ensures safety and competency is at the heart of everything they do. He began his career as a gas service engineer some 30+ years ago and has since held several operational, technical and health and safety roles working in senior management teams.

Presentation summary: Gas Safe Register audits: What do they tell us?

Using real life case studies of good and bad practice, Bob will provide an insight into what’s uncovered when Gas Safe inspectors carry out their audits and what it tells us about the sector’s risk profile.


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Gary Hesketh, Gas Technical Compliance Lead, OVO Energy

As Gas Technical Compliance Lead, Gary is responsible for creating smart metering policies and practices in line with gas regulations and codes of practice. Prior to joining OVO Energy, he spent 35 years working in the heating and plumbing industry, gaining experience across the private, social, new build, commercial and renewable energy sectors.

Presentation summary: The importance of investment in skills and training

Given the gas industry’s current skills shortage and the increasing rapid pace of change, attracting new talent into the sector and equipping them with the skills they need is arguably more important than ever. Gary will be discussing the benefits associated with building a diverse workforce and investing in their ongoing development. 


Phil Jenkins, Director, Gas Assessment & Training Centre (GATC)

Phil has 42 years’ experience working within the gas industry. He began his career as a gas services engineer before moving on to hold a number of supervisory and managerial positions. He has successfully led many high profile projects and been responsible for up to 350 employees. Phil became a Director of GATC in 2013 and now shares his knowledge and expertise with fellow professionals and those wishing to join the industry. 

Presentation summary:Virtual Reality (VR) training

Phil, along with his colleagues Stephen Mullin and John Forrest, will be showcasing how VR technology can greatly enhance the learning experience of gas operatives. Based on the scenario of an engineer attending a reported gas leak within a domestic property, Phil and Stephen will demonstrate how VR enables trainee operatives to immerse themselves in what would otherwise be an unsafe situation and to develop/test their skills in a completely safe environment. 

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Jeff House, Head of External Affairs, Baxi Heating UK

Jeff has a wealth of technical, commercial and legislative knowledge gained during his 20+ years’ in the building services sector including low and zero carbon technologies. In his current role, he focusses on setting the political and legislative agenda for the UK heating sector, regularly representing Baxi and the wider industry at government and trade body meetings. 

Presentation summary: Hydrogen boilers

Jeff will be providing an overview of some key topics gas operatives may need to be aware of in a hydrogen future. He’ll be explaining why hydrogen is a potential decarbonisation option, what the main differences between hydrogen and natural gas boilers are in operation, and what a conversion from natural gas to hydrogen might look like.


Tommy Isaac, Principal Engineer, Progressive Energy

A Chartered Chemical and Mechanical Engineer with consulting and operational experience within the nuclear power, oil and gas, and clean energy sectors, Tommy is currently focused on the delivery of the HyDeploy project, acting as technical lead for a variety of whole systems projects to integrate decarbonisation strategy between gas and electricity networks.

Presentation summary: Hydrogen blend gas detection 

Gas detection is an important factor in keeping engineers, gas users and the general public safe. Tommy will be sharing details of the development of gas analysers capable of detecting hydrogen when it is blended with natural gas and on the implications for flue gas analysis.


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Oliver Lancaster, Future of Energy Manager, Wales & West Utilities (WWU)

As Future of Energy Manager, Oliver looks after a wide range of whole energy systems projects. He successfully managed the Freedom Project - a large scale demonstration trial of smart hybrid heating systems in South Wales. Delivered alongside electricity network Western Power Distribution, Freedom was the first collaborative future of energy project between gas and electricity networks.

Presentation summary: Hybrid heating systems

Oliver will be providing an overview of hybrid heating systems; what they are, how they work and, most importantly, how they may be installed, commissioned and maintained. He’ll also be explaining the potential role of hybrid heating systems in a transition from natural gas to biomethane, 20 per cent hydrogen blends and 100 per cent hydrogen.