#BetterTogether – Energy Charter architecture enables successful collaboration across the sector

Currently, Energy Charter signatories are working through the Independent Accountability Panel (IAP) process aimed at driving transparency and accountability of progress towards commitments made under the five customer-centric principles of the Energy Charter. Insights from CEO interviews have highlighted that the architecture of the Energy Charter has enabled successful collaboration across the energy sector that was not happening before.

“We’ve now got an opportunity to go up the supply chain and actually unpack some of the issues that have been incredibly difficult to get into over the last decade or more.” John Knox, CEO ActewAGL

The Energy Charter’s 18-strong CEO Council and Industry Working Group, including champions from across the supply chain, and the End-User Consultative Group collaborate through the unique architecture the Energy Charter to deliver tangible outcomes for customers across the energy sector.

“The second key thing that drives me that I’ve taken out of the Energy Charter is the need to work together… We’ve been a bit solo in how we approach issues… Now we ask how can we work together on this? How can we get other people involved or other businesses and other stakeholders involved in (a) in recognising the issue, (b) solving the issue and (c) just doing it all together? These will feed and drive how we change this place.” Richard Gross, CEO Ausgrid

Three key themes have emerged from the CEO interviews that demonstrate how the Energy Charter is enabling successful collaboration. These include:

1. Sharing and learning

“I really feel that the industry is trying really hard to work together well to do the right thing and that they’re willing to share and learn together and particularly through this COVID-19 process. As an example, at the last Energy Charter meeting of CEOs, we were able to share our voice of the customer presentation” – Jason Stein, CEO Powershop

Guided by the Ways of Working focused on Communication, Mutual Respect, Building Trust, Diversity and Shared Values, signatories have learnt from each other about what has worked, and importantly, what didn’t work, on pivoting their businesses towards better customer outcomes, especially through the 2019-20 Australian bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

Sharing practical information such as how to engage employees better, how to deliver better customer experience and how to authentically operate in communities with shared values has also been valuable in developing cultural change.

In addition to this, the #BetterTogether – Communal Content Hub is a resource library featuring customer and community facing communications for all signatories to share with customers and communities or adapt their own versions.

“You can see the benefit of learning from each other … that’s helped us as a business. That’s helped us as an industry.” Guy Chalkey, CEO Endeavour Energy

2. Platform for safe conversations

Unique to the Energy Charter, and critical to its success, is that all parts of the supply chain are represented and passionate about embedding a customer-centric culture within the Australian energy industry. This has created a unique opportunity for bigger systemic issues about customers to be examined and solutions co-designed by champions across the sector.

“The Energy Charter provides a good platform for a safe conversation about how to navigate some of those more complex issues which may not just be within the footprint of ActewAGL Retail, they’re likely to be up and down the supply chain as well” John Knox, CEO ActewAGL

3. Building trust and relationships across the supply chain

The Energy Charter’s core values “Be invested, make a difference”, “Be open, learn and improve”, and “Think big, be bold” has helped signatories to focus on building trust and relationships across the supply chain to make it easier to achieve our individual and collective goals. Whilst customer outcomes matter, the culture that is embodied to achieve them is also important and the Industry Working Group meeting champions regularly have a deep dive discussion into the Ways of Working.

“We need to learn. An important part of the Energy Charter is actually looking at other organizations, the networking opportunities that provides, and the opportunities to take on board what other organizations are doing. We’ve got to take an outward in look.” Richard van Breda, CEO Stanwell

#BetterTogether

Finally, the #BetterTogether initiatives provide a key vehicle for innovative collaboration across the energy supply chain and connect hundreds of co-collaborators within the #BetterTogether community who are collectively focused on driving deeper a customer-centric culture across the sector.

“The real plus of the Energy Charter is trying to get collaboration across the whole industry so that the customer can see just one face.” Guy Chalkey, CEO Endeavour Energy

The CEO interviews with the IAP provide valuable insights into each of the businesses ranging from board and leadership focus on customer voice, the erosion of trust and confidence in business, key metrics and measures for improvements, proactive support for customers in vulnerable circumstances, the impact of COVID-19 on customers and communities and the value of the Energy Charter. To view, visit the IAP website.

The Energy Charter October News Update

Message from the Chair of the CEO Council, 2019/20 Disclosure Reports, Independent Accountability (IAP) process, CEO Meetings, Stakeholder Forums, #BetterTogether Draft National Customer Code for Energy Brokers and Communal Content Hub featured resource Read More

Energy consumers invited to have their say

Australian energy users are being invited to have their say on energy generators, distribution and transmission companies and retailers. Today sees a period of public consultation commence in which electricity and gas customers are specifically invited to comment on the disclosures of 19 Australian energy companies, all of which are signatories to the Energy Charter.

Australian energy users are being invited to have their say on energy generators, distribution and transmission companies and retailers. Today sees a period of public consultation commence in which electricity and gas customers are specifically invited to comment on the disclosures of 19 Australian energy companies, all of which are signatories to the Energy Charter.

Signatories’ disclosures benchmark the improvements Energy Charter companies undertake to be more customer focused over a 12-month period. They also measure the progress signatories have made against the recommendations handed down by the Independent Accountability Panel last year.

Chair of the Energy Charter CEO Council, Ben Wilson said that despite a number of issues faced in the past year, energy company signatories to the Energy Charter have made a concerted effort to collaborate along the supply chain and put customers first.

“This has been an extremely challenging year for our customers, communities and signatories with bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with these challenges also come unique opportunities to better support Australians, to step beyond business-as-usual and demonstrate as a sector we are working together on the vision of the Energy Charter to ‘deliver energy for a better Australia’.

We welcome the opportunity for customers, communities and their representatives to have their say about whether the energy sector has met their expectations” Mr Wilson said.

Over the past 12 months through the Energy Charter, signatories have collectively:

  • Produced a focused awareness campaign during COVID-19 to inform customers of the help available to them. They highlighted opportunities to discuss bills and energy usage, with information and support messaging translated across 10 languages, together with customer resources for COVID-19, including for students
  • Committed to include public customer satisfaction scores in their disclosures to the Independent Accountability Panel
  • Sponsored more than 10 #BetterTogether initiatives that saw groups of businesses working together to deliver outcomes for customers such as improving electricity and gas connections, getting concessions to the right people and improving energy literacy for culturally and linguistically diverse communities

The Energy Charter signatories’ disclosure reports have been submitted to the Independent Accountability Panel for review which is chaired by Clare Petre with panellists Cassandra Goldie, CEO Australian Council of Social Service and Andrew Richards, CEO Energy Users Association of Australia.

The Independent Accountability Panel’s period of public consultation will include CEO interviews and online stakeholder forums to be held throughout October, before making their recommendations public in early December 2020. Written submissions about the signatories’ disclosures are invited by the Independent Accountability Panel until 30 October 2020.

To have your say, visit www.theenergycharterpanel.com.au

For media enquiries, please contact:
Sabiene Heindl, E: director@theenergycharter.com M: 0412 039 747

Energy Charter Signatories

Established in January 2019, the Energy Charter is a CEO-led initiative of 19 Australian energy companies. It is the first time that all parts of the energy supply chain have come together and committed to a disclosure framework to help deliver a more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy system for all Australians.

19 signatories: ActewAGL, AGL, APA Group, Aurora Energy, Ausgrid, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, Clean Co, CS Energy, Endeavour Energy, Energy Queensland Limited including Ergon Energy Network, Energex, Yurika and Ergon Energy Retail, EnergyAustralia, Essential Energy, Horizon Power, Jemena & Ovida, Meridian Energy Australia & Powershop Australia, Origin Energy, Powerlink Queensland, Stanwell and TransGrid.

The Independent Accountability Panel

The Independent Accountability Panel is made up of:

  • Clare Petre (Chair), former Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW
  • Cassandra Goldie, CEO Australian Council of Social Service
  • Andrew Richards, CEO Energy Users Association of Australia

For more information visit: www.theenergycharterpanel.com.au