Annette Hardcastle, Director of Customer Operations

Last mile multi-utility network owner and operator, Leep Utilities, has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Annette Hardcastle as Director of Customer Operations.

Responsible for the end-to-end management of the customer journey, Hardcastle will oversee all client relationships from the on-boarding process, through to billing, customer service enquiries and collections.

Joining Leep Utilities with over 12 years’ experience within the utilities sector, Hardcastle’s most recent appointment was at British Gas, as Head of Collections Operations. With the company for 10 years, the role saw Hardcastle create an appropriate customer support structure, developing an environment where clients could seek support and advice when struggling to pay bills. Whilst running the team, the business achieved an external recognition in the sector by winning Energy Team of the Year and Vulnerable Customer Team of the Year.

The appointment follows a period of sustained growth for the business, including a number of recent new site wins and additional hires within the team.

Commenting on the new team member, Managing Director of Leep Utilities, Louise Manfredi, said: “We’re so pleased to welcome Annette to the team, she is a fantastic addition to the business and brings a wealth of sector knowledge and experience.

“With a strong background within the industry, Annette is extremely well placed to lead on our customer relations, and will be a great advocate for the business. We pride ourselves on providing only the very best customer service to our clients and we know this will only improve with her on board.”

Hardcastle added: “I’m really happy to be joining the Leep Utilities team, they’re renowned within the industry for providing great customer care and to be able to spearhead this going forward will be fantastic. The team have made me feel so welcome already and I’m thrilled to be joining the business at such an exciting time.”

Leep Utilities has seen significant growth particularly in the second half of 2020. The adoption of water networks is a key growth market for the business. Following the acquisition of SSE’s water and wastewater networks in May 2019, Leep has won multiple schemes across the UK.

Leep Utilities was formed as a joint venture between Ancala Partners LLP (‘Ancala’), an independent investment management firm and The Peel Group, one of the UK’s leading private real estate investment and infrastructure companies.