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
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.