#BetterTogether – Improving engagement with regional landowners for shared outcomes

In late 2020, angst among Australian farmers and rural communities was growing. They felt that the policy and planning process for large-scale electricity infrastructure left landowners and regional communities out of the conversation, and that engagement came too late for any real say in how the infrastructure could be delivered.

The National Farmers Federation approached the Energy Charter to see whether there was an opportunity to work together with industry to deliver better outcomes for farmers and rural communities.

There was a recognised opportunity to improve engagement between energy businesses, landowners and others regarding asset development, particularly in light of AEMO’s Integrated System Plan (ISP) and ongoing development of renewable assets in agricultural land areas across Australia.

The #BetterTogether Better Landowner Engagement initiative was launched in early 2021. Co-collaborators include Powerlink Queensland, TransGrid, APA together with the National Farmers Federation, NSW Farmers Association, Queensland Farmers’ Federation, Victorian Farmers Federation, AG Force Qld, the Clean Energy Council, Energy Networks Australia and AEMO.

Using the #BetterTogether innovation framework of ideate, incubate and accelerate, we are working together through a series of co-design workshops to highlight pain points and design guidelines and better practice models on engagement between transmission businesses and landowners. We are also exploring early engagement in the ISP and related transmission issues for landowners. The agriculture industry would also like to see good practice guidelines for how to discuss compensation for landowners.

Ash Salardini of National Farmers Federation said, “Getting the agriculture industry, the energy industry and regulators around the same table was a very positive step in addressing the challenge around effective engagement.”

The #BetterTogether initiative is currently co-designing a Better Practice Framework for Landowner and Community Engagement. In addition, Energy Networks Australia has recently produced information on the role of transmission in the delivery of electricity to our communities.

#BetterTogether – Collaborating for better customer engagement

Energy Charter signatories have collaborated to develop a ‘Better Practice Customer Engagement Toolkit’ to assist businesses to further embrace customer and community needs in their decision making.  

“Businesses within the energy sector are at different levels of maturity when it comes to engaging with customers and communities, so this toolkit helps to support their engagement in the best way.” – Nives Matosin, APA Group

Customer voice is critical for cultural change towards customer-centricity.  When properly structured and applied, authentic customer engagement can provide practical insights into what’s working, what’s expected and what’s important to our customers.  Importantly, this enables energy businesses to remain adaptable and responsive to customer needs and expectations within the continuously changing and transforming market.

The Better Practice Customer Engagement Toolkit offers a framework for putting this into action. It includes:

  • Types and examples of better practice principles that demonstrate ways to be genuine, open and inclusive with different groups of customers and stakeholders as highlighted in the Energy Charter Shared Learning Customer Engagement Platform
  • Key considerations when designing an engagement process including defining a purpose, who to engage, what topic and useful tools such as to the IAP2 Spectrum framework
  • How to encourage better outcomes highlighting the importance of closing the feedback loop and planning future engagement opportunities.

 The Better Practice Customer Engagement Toolkit was developed through the #BetterTogether ‘Know your Customers and Communities’ initiative led by APA and Essential Energy, supported by Endeavour Energy, Energy Queensland, Jemena, Horizon Power, Powerlink Queensland and TransGrid.

“This #BetterTogether initiative enables collaboration within the energy sector towards shaping business culture and decision making based on the voice of the customer. We hope the energy sector finds that this toolkit can be used far and wide to encourage better engagement with Australians.” – Karyn Looby, Essential Energy

New Energy Charter CEO Council Chair 2021

The Energy Charter has today welcomed the Managing Director of Jemena, Frank Tudor, as the new Chair of the CEO Council for 2021.

“During 2020 many energy consumers faced new challenges due to bushfires, floods and COVID-19. I’m honoured to take on the role of the Chair of the CEO Council so that the Energy Charter can continue to push for collaboration right across the industry to ensure better outcomes and support for energy customers during 2021” Mr Tudor said.

The focus of Energy Charter signatories in 2021 is to respond to the recommendations of the Independent Accountability Panel late last year: providing additional support for customers as households and businesses get up and running after the many challenges of last year and coming together to better plan the path to meeting customer and community expectations on net zero by 2050. Organisations are also encouraged to sign up to the Energy Charter to leverage its unique structure that allows companies from across all areas of the energy supply chain to collaborate through #BetterTogether initiatives to support customers.

The Energy Charter acknowledged and thanked outgoing Chair, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG) Chief Executive Officer, Ben Wilson, for his strong leadership and outstanding service in 2020.

Background

Frank has held various senior executive roles over the last 30 plus years in the international oil, gas, and power industries. Before joining Jemena as Managing Director in October 2018, Frank worked at Horizon Power, BP and Woodside.

Frank serves on the Council of Australian Governments Energy Security Board Advisory Panel, the Reliable Affordable Clean Energy for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre (RACE for 2030 CRC), the Asia Society Advisory Panel and is a Board member of ActewAGL, Deputy Chair of Energy Networks Australia (and is Chair of its Gas Committee). He is also a member of the Business Council Australia Energy and Climate Change Committee.

Frank holds first class degrees in engineering, economics and business administration from Curtin University (WA), London School of Economics (UK) and AGSM (University of NSW). He has also completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and lectured in oil and gas economics and legal frameworks at the University of Western Australia.