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

A slide pack summarising FNF's overall objectives, structure and current activities can be viewed here.




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


  1. Outreach with Purpose   
  2. Strategic Context    
  3. Aligned Solutions


FNF's Outreach with Purpose workstream is developing a comprehensive stakeholder communications and engagement plan to gain a comprehensive understanding of the evolving needs of consumers and stakeholders. The FNF’s direction, development plans, and solutions will be evaluated with other ENA working groups and relevant industry bodies to ensure alignment.


Recognising the immense value of peer connections to share challenges, opportunities and ideas, the workstream is hosting quarterly ‘Innovation Forums’ open to representatives from all EDBs, including an annual ‘unconference’ for sector-wide stakeholders. Following a successful launch of the first innovation forum in July, the second forum will be hosted in Wellington on Wednesday 15 November.


The Strategic Context workstream is exploring existing sector assumptions, inflexion points and potential 2050 scenarios, while building a greater understanding of consumer and stakeholder segmentation, and the decarbonisation journey. This workstream will also explore with EDBs and the wider sector what the future roles and functions of EDBs would be in those scenarios.


The Aligned Solutions workstream is co-ordinating with EDBs, the Electricity Engineers’ Association, retailers, flexibility providers, distributed generation 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.


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)

James Tipping (Vector)



Richard Le Gros (ENA)


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


ENA members can login to the full FNF pages here.