Australian energy companies take big step in putting customers first

Today marks a significant milestone for the Australian energy industry.

For the first time, Australians can gain unique insights into improvements by generators, transmission companies, distributors and retailers to provide better services and to put their customers first.

Formed in January this year, the Energy Charter is a CEO-led initiative of 18 Australian energy companies. This 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. Importantly, each company has reviewed how they can support cultural change within their own business and as an industry.

Today, a recently formed Independent Accountability Panel will commence a period of public consultation after receiving disclosure reports from the 18 signatories.

Chair of the Energy Charter CEO Council, John Cleland, said the energy industry has recognised that it needs to do better and the independent panel process will provide further guidance, discussion and motivation for the signatories.

“This is a milestone for the Australian energy industry and those companies that have opted to be involved. For the first time, companies are coming together to see how they can better support customers,” said Mr Cleland.

“Together with Energy Consumers Australia and other end-user representatives, we have recognised that there’s a long way to go in this space, and that things won’t change overnight, but this is an important shift towards a greater understanding of customer needs.”

The Independent Accountability Panel will now review the disclosures. The CEOs of the Energy Charter signatories will meet with the panel over coming weeks to discuss their respective disclosures.

Mr Cleland added that this was also an opportunity for energy customers to see for themselves the positive changes already put in place by the signatories.

“The Energy Charter was established in recognition that the industry was undergoing a period of tremendous change and needed to transform its approach to customers,” Mr Cleland said.

“While there are many opinions about the Australian energy industry, the fact that so many Boards, CEOs, Managing Directors and senior executives have been engaged in the Energy Charter is a reflection on how seriously we are taking this. We are committed to being more open, accountable and doing more to listen to our customers.”

The Independent Accountability Panel’s period of public consultation will include CEO briefings and stakeholder forums to be held in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in October. Written submissions about the signatories’ disclosures will be accepted by the panel until 25 October.

The Independent Accountability Panel’s report will be published at the end of November.

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