So How Did the NHER Takeover go?


14 April 2017

Ten years ago there were around a dozen mainstream accreditation bodies competing for our business.  Today there are just five, yet we have heard very little over the years about how well or otherwise takeovers have gone.  But six months on from the takeover of National Energy Services accreditation body NHER by Elmhurst Energy, Dyfrig Hughes, former Technical and Product Development Director at NES, and now at Elmhurst, has taken a look at how the transfer has gone so far.

When Elmhurst took over running the NHER scheme, the clear message from Martyn Reed, the Managing Director of Elmhurst, was along the lines of “nothing will change initially, but over time we will take the best from both to create something even better”.

So how has it all gone so far?

To find out, I spoke to staff previously with NES and now integrated into the Elmhurst operation, to get their view from the inside.  I also spoke to some long standing NHER customers to get an external perspective.  Which previous NHER staff remain?  Steve Windmill, Juan Garcia, Adrian Burr and Janine McKay are now an integral part of the Elmhurst Support team.  They are supported by Gareth Morgan as an independent contractor.  Mike Pitt is part of the Technical team.  Juan also runs the Non-Domestic side of the business.  I am available to Elmhurst on an ‘as needed’ basis to help make the merger a success.

How do the ex NES team think the transfer has gone?

Juan: “It has gone very smoothly. Enough people transferred from NES to make it work. The level of extended hours for technical support has been reduced slightly, but the core service has been retained and I have not had any negative feedback.  It is understandable that some people are resistant to change, however once they have tried Elmhurst’s systems they seem to be happy; they only need some assistance with the first report; that’s all.”

Steve: “One long standing NHER customer was very anti the merger initially. I have spent time supporting them over the past 2 days and now they are singing its praises.  Most problems are associated with people not having read documentation provided, not having watched a video etc.  However, when explained, it all falls into place.  One thing that assessors do miss is the email summary after the support call, which they find a useful reference that they file away.  The merger has not been the cultural issue I expected; the teams have merged well.   All NES staff have dovetailed well into Elmhurst and gelled well.  The team spirit is very good.  I now feel as though I have always been at Elmhurst.”

Mike: “As you might expect, there have been some ‘teething’ problems e.g. NES One running slow initially, pay per click insurance expiry preventing lodgement, old phone numbers popping up.  However, the impression I get is that for most people it’s business as usual.”

Adrian: “Most OCDEAs are continuing to use Plan Assessor and it’s good to see some improvements on the way.  The Roadshows that Elmhurst ran at the start of the transfer answered most people’s questions.   Elmhurst & NES also seem to have been interpreting DCLG conventions in the same way, and so I have seen no issues there.”

How has the transfer gone down with customers?

The email feedback on the merger suggests that the merger has been implemented well.

“…. the NHER to Elmhurst transition has so far been seamless, and a tribute to the work of your team.”

“ ….. the transition process has run very smoothly and I have not been affected by this at all so well done.  I have had to call your support team once and they were very helpful and quick at what they do, again well done.”

Here are some comments made by some customers that I called:

“Audits are less personal than they were at NES.  At NES I got the name of the person who did the audit, but at Elmhurst it’s anonymous.  Maybe this is a good thing, but I prefer the personal approach myself.”

“We have received no Technical Bulletins or Knowledgebase updates since the merger, just the Energy Matters newsletter.”

“The transfer seems to have been seamless, and all appears to be going well.”

Elmhurst Energy’s Managing Director Martyn Reed is pleased with how things have gone so far but is the first to admit some members have needed to call in to resolve some issues.  “With any merger there will always be issues” he adds.  “The important thing is that we listen, we take time to resolve any issues, to explain and to reassure members but, more importantly, we learn and take proactive action to help others.  We have been very fortunate to have retained so many talented NHER staff which has allowed us to maintain that in depth knowledge that only experience can bring”

How do I think it has gone?

In short, I think it has gone very well.  There is much left to do and there will inevitably be changes and compromises that will not please everyone.  However, given the state of the energy efficiency market this consolidation was essential and will, I am sure, succeed.  This will ultimately give both NHER and Elmhurst assessors the tools and support they need moving forward.

In working with Elmhurst over the past six months, I have been very impressed with three things.  Firstly, the level of commitment within Elmhurst to the merger being a huge success.  Secondly, by the level of commitment the organisation has to providing leadership to the energy industry.  And thirdly to the professional way in which Elmhurst manages and develops software.  This bodes well for the future of the NHER within Elmhurst, and leaves me with the firm belief that the ‘spirit’ of NHER lives on.

This is only a small sample of people, and your personal feedback will be welcomed.  Just drop an email to:

This article first appeared in the Elmhurst Energy Matters newsletter for Spring 2017

To download a copy of the newsletter click here

See also – Elmhurst Takes Over NHER