Front and centre with Head of Metering Services, Tommy Appleby

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Tommy has been Head of Metering Services at BES since May this year, so we thought it was time to put him under the spotlight, and ask him some burning questions.

As well as finding out how Tommy went from being the youngest commander in the British Army to becoming Head of Metering Services, we discovered his opinion on smart meters, his biggest strengths, what he wanted to be when he grew up, what he loves most about his job, and more.

What did you do before you worked for BES?
I’ve worked in the energy industry for over 12 years in a variety of roles, from a boiler fitter, to a dual fuel engineer, to a supervisor. I’ve also worked in technical management and field operations, so I’ve done a little bit of everything really, and gradually worked my way up to where I want to be. The knowledge and experience I have gained over the years has given me a full perspective of the sector we operate in, so I can relate to challenges the team face. I know exactly how it feels for our newly trained engineers who are knocking on a door for the first time!

Before I started my career in the energy sector, I was in the army for 7 years as an infantry commander. I started when I was 18, and I was the youngest commander in the British Army at the time, which is something I’m hugely proud of. I had the opportunity to travel and work all over the world, and spent time in Germany, France, Iraq, Cyprus, Poland, Kuwait, Jordan, and France, which was amazing. It was when I left the army that I gained my gas qualifications.

What does your role involve? What does a typical day look like?
I manage the whole performance of BES Metering, ensuring we’re complaint with all regulations, and I spent a lot of time problem solving and refining end to end processes so we can deliver a seamless service. I hold daily meetings with all the BES Metering back office staff so we can review the previous day’s performance and set expectations for the day ahead. This meeting includes a fun work-related quiz to keep things light-hearted but educational at the same time.

What do you love most about what you do?
I really enjoy the day to day challenges of my role, and I get great job satisfaction in knowing the team delivers customer excellence time after time. Our engineers always do a fantastic job keeping everyone happy and working safely. You spend most of your life at work, so it’s rewarding to be able to do something that I love.

What is your biggest strength?
I would say people management. I pride myself on knowing how to get the best out of people and I have a knack of helping others adapt to different situations. If you know your people, you should always get the right outcome.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I really fancied being a pilot or a grass cutter, believe it or not. I used to love reading a magazine called Take Off which was all about planes, it’s actually what inspired me to join the forces.

How would you describe BES in three words?
That’s a really hard question. I’d say, dynamic, customer-focussed and exceeds expectations. I know that’s more than three words!

What would you say are the main benefits of having a smart meter?
Smart meters make sure that your billing is always accurate, they can help you to save energy and money, and they’re hassle free as they always send an automated reading to your supplier so you don’t have to remember to submit a manual reading.

What is the biggest misconception about smart meters?
I’ve heard all sorts of ridiculous myths about smart meters! Some say they are like Big Brother watching you all the time, letting the government know when you’re at home. That’s absolutely not true! Oh, and that they give off harmful levels of radiation, which again is ludicrous.

How do you manage your energy consumption at home?
I only boil the amount of water I actually need, which is a really simple way to conserve energy, as kettles are one of the appliances that use the most electricity at home. I make sure I switch off anything I can at the mains, and all my lightbulbs are LEDs, as they not only last longer, but consume less energy. I make sure I keep my heating at just the right temperature too, as constantly adjusting the temperature uses lots of energy.

As an individual, what are you going to do to help the UK achieve net zero by 2050?
I’ve been looking into getting an electric car so I’m not adding to carbon emissions, and I’m  also planning on seeking alternatives for gas appliances at home. I think this is an achievable target if everyone does their bit, and makes changes to the way they live.

You’ve worked in the energy industry for almost 15 years, what advice would you give to someone considering a move to the energy sector?
Make sure you research it – 100%. Always be open minded and willing to adapt as the energy sector is every changing and evolving, so it’s important to be flexible. And it’s never too late for a career change!

And finally, what do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
I am at my happiest when I’m with my family; my wife, 2-year-old and our cockapoo. I love being out in the fresh air, exploring and showing my daughter new things. We’ve been visiting a local farm recently and feeding the animals, which she loves.

More to explore

FAQs

Suppliers install smart meters at no extra cost to the bill payer

Yes, however there are potential complications as some meters may lose their smart functionality. Contact your supplier for more information.

All households in the UK must be offered a smart meter from their supplier by 2020 or you can contact your supplier directly.

Energy suppliers will arrange to install the smart meter, usually through a company that specialises in smart meters.

According to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), all smart meters have to pass the same safety regulations as any other in-house technology.

Please ensure you make your supplier aware of any renewable energy generators, as this may affect the performance of the smart meter and should be assessed prior to installation.

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