Sally Hunt: Energy expert who helped mastermind electricity privatisation in Britain in the 1980s

Sally Hunt was a world-renowned expert on the electricity industry who helped to mastermind the privatisation of that sector in Britain during the late 1980s – a task which many considered impossible to achieve successfully.

Hunt was born in Woking on 9 September 1943. She attended a state primary school and went, on scholarships, to Sutton High School for Girls and Somerville College, Oxford, where she took a degree in philosophy, politics and economics. At the time, the total quota for women students at Oxford University was still one thousand, even though they had been permitted to earn Oxford degrees since 1938.

She began her career in the 1960s as a research assistant at the London School of Economics. She married an American, Richard Streiter, and moved first to Paris and then to New York, where her two sons, Paul Streiter and Mark (Reign) Streiter, were born. In the late 1960s she joined Mayor John V Lindsay's New York City Budget Bureau, working first on education and then on air and water pollution. Her connection with the Bureau was to be a lasting one; in recent years, she was on the selection committee for the Hayes Prize, an annual award given to New York City employees by friends and admirers of Fred Hayes, the Budget director when Hunt first arrived at the organisation. She became assistant commissioner for air pollution control, and during the energy crisis of 1973 she became deputy director of the newly created Energy Office.

Despite passing the requisite New York City Civil Service examination, Hunt was passed over twice for permanent appointment. She asked the Chair of the City Civil Service Commission why; he replied that it would have helped if she were Irish, if she were male, if she were over 40 and if she could drink.

At 30, she left City government and joined NERA, an economic consulting firm with a large specialty in energy. She soon became a vice president, testifying in electricity and other energy regulatory cases all over the US and before congressional committees. She was chief economic investigator on the Montana coal tax case, a constitutional case that went to the US Supreme Court. Seeking electric industry experience, she went to Con Edison as corporate economist in the office of the president, wrestling with regulatory problems. She made sure that she spent every Thursday in the field studying the "real world" of manholes, power stations and transmission towers.

In 1988, NERA won the contract to advise the Central Electricity Generating Board in England on how to privatise the electric industry and introduce competition at the same time. This had never been done anywhere, and most experts considered it impossible. But Hunt's last child was in college; her mother in England was old. It was a perfect fit. She rejoined NERA full time and moved to London.

More than two years and dozens of meetings, drafts and negotiations were required to develop a workable plan – and the plan that emerged has survived remarkably well. The people who constructed it had found a new talent – electricity restructuring. Hunt returned to the US, where she had become a citizen, and was appointed head of the energy practice at NERA and elected to the Board.

Hunt travelled extensively in the following years, advising governments and industry members on how to introduce competition in electricity. She wrote, with Graham Shuttleworth, Competition and Choice in Electricity (Wiley, London 1996), followed by Making Competition Work in Electricity (Wiley, New York 2002). The latter was reviewed in the Journal of Energy Literature, which noted that: "It will undoubtedly become recommended, if not required reading for students, researchers, regulators, and the industry alike."

Hunt consulted in China for 12 years, at the invitation of the World Bank. She also worked at length with the Ministry of Energy in Mexico, helping to draft the white paper on reform of the electric sector, which was published, but went nowhere. She spent much time in California and New Jersey, working with electric utilities as reforms were introduced.

As her sons, Paul and Mark, became parents in Hawaii and Georgia respectively, Hunt decided to retire. At her retirement party she said she had been saving time all her life – and now she planned to spend it, and even waste it. She wanted to develop real relationships with each of her six grandchildren and to visit far-flung friends. She still did occasional consulting, most recently in Turkey for the Ministry of Energy. When cancer was diagnosed, she was glad she had had those years with her family – and at a slower pace.

In addition to her sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, Sally issurvived by her husband, Ronald A Twitty, and her sister, Carole Hurst, of Wokingham, England. Her first husband, Richard Streiter, also survives her. Contributions in Sally Hunt's name in the US should go to The Hayes Prize Fund at the Fund for the City of New York; and in the UK to the Somerville College Fund.

William Josephson

Sally Streiter Hunt, corporate consultant: born Woking 9 September 1943; married firstly Richard Streiter (two sons; marriage dissolved), 2009 Ronald A Twitty; died Hawaii 13 September 2010.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Fans line up at the AVNs, straining to capture a photo of their favourite star
life Tim Walker asks how much longer it can flesh out an existence
Life and Style
Every minute of every day, Twitter is awash with anger as we seek to let these organisations know precisely what we think of them
techWhen it comes to vitriol, no one on attracts our ire more than big businesses offering bad service
News
Professor David Nutt wants to change the way gravely ill patients are treated in Britain
people Why does a former Government tsar believe that mind-altering drugs have a place on prescription?
News
Norway’s ‘The Nordland Line – Minute by Minute, Season by Season’ continues the trend of slow TV
television
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
art
Sport
Jonny Evans has pleaded not guilty to an FA charge for spitting at Papiss Cisse
football
Life and Style
Kate Moss will make a cameo appearance in David Walliams' The Boy in the Dress
fashion
News
The image released by the Salvation Army, using 'The Dress'
news
Sport
Liverpool defender Kolo Toure
football Defender could make history in the FA Cup, but African Cup of Nations win means he's already content
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

£65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

£8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

£14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable