#BetterTogether – The Energy Charter starting to deliver real change for customers

Energy Charter signatory CEO discussions with the Independent Accountability Panel have identified how the Energy Charter is starting to deliver real change for customers. For many signatories this has been about setting up the right foundations to kick off customer-centric initiatives and strategically align their businesses with the principles of the Energy Charter.

“What the Energy Charter does is sharpen that focus and hold us accountable and provide a mechanism for us to actually explain what initiatives we are putting in place and what successes we are seeing as a consequence of being focused taking a customer centric approach to the way that we run our business.” – Mark Algie, Board Director Energy Queensland

“I loved the idea personally of signing up to the Energy Charter because it was so aligned with my own internal view of our strategy and where we needed to take our business.  There were some very strong principles in there that as a business we ascribe to but had not strongly embedded across the full value chain.” – Stephanie Unwin, CEO Horizon Power

The 2020 disclosure reports provide rich information about innovative customer focused initiatives generating tangible customer and business benefits. Many signatories have delivered valuable internal work programs and overall strategy to drive customer outcomes based on their Energy Charter involvement including:

  • Authentic engagement with customers to drive decision-making within their business. For example, APA Group expanded its Customer Feedback Program, instituted Voice of Customer research, developed customer satisfaction metrics and pioneered a transmission customer forum to provide a feedback loop on grid enhancement initiatives
  • “We surveyed our customers and have got a program of work directly on of the back of what happened last year in the Energy Charter. We are changing the way the relationship with Alinta works around affordability. These are two tangible things that happened directly as a result of our involvement of the Energy Charter.” Andrew Bills, CEO CS Energy
  • Support for vulnerable customers included a joint commitment by Powerlink and Energy Queensland to establish a community support-based partnership to deliver two key programs with the Indigenous Consumer Assistance Network (ICAN).

While the Energy Charter isn’t about league tables, transparency about outcomes for customers in a measurable way has enabled signatories the opportunity to level up their business practices for continuous improvement, and there’s always friendly competition to do better.

“It’s best practice sharing, with an ambition to level up.” Ben Wilson, CEO AGIG and Chair, CEO Council

“When I look at the Energy Charter and the lessons learned from the first year, I want to take all of those lessons and embed them right from the get-go at CleanCo so that we are effectively having that beautiful kind of synergy between everything internal and external and everything that faces our customers ultimately.”- Maia Schweizer, CEO CleanCo

The Energy Charter’s Maturity Model has also created an important tool for businesses to authentically reflect on their progress on putting customer at the centre of their business and stretch themselves towards better.

“It was actually probably one of the best conversations we’ve had as an executive group because we got to compare, contrast and reflect ….that’s really powerful and assists us in either challenging ourselves or encouraging us to do more for customers.” Rebecca Kardos, CEO Aurora Energy

Real change for customers across the supply chain is also gaining momentum through the #BetterTogether (#BT) initiatives that focus on customer pain points and co-design opportunities through an innovation framework to deliver better outcomes in alignment with Energy Charter Principles and drive customer-centric culture change deeper within signatories, creating a #BT community that connects collaborators across the energy sector.

“The #BetterTogether initiatives are fantastic and I think the best outcome of the Energy Charter really because it’s up its where the action happens and where you get the outcomes for customers” – Jason Stein, CEO Powershop

“For me personally, there are some great examples of how we can work collaboratively across the entire industry to deliver better results for people. Amongst these include, the 24/7 connections #BetterTogether initiative, which we led with Energy Australia. In this example, two companies came together to meet a clearly known customer pain point and worked together to define and resolve it. The Energy Charter provides the architecture for doing something, learning, and when we get it to a point that it works, spreading it out across the signatories of the Energy Charter for more Australians to benefit” – Frank Tudor, MD Jemena

As Ben Wilson, Chair of the CEO Council and AGIG CEO said in the Energy Charter disclosure, the Energy Charter is not an industry body or a regulator. It is complementary. It is focused outward, on customers. Signatories aim for “highest common denominator” – pushing each other to deliver for customers by promoting examples of best practice for signatories to adopt and collaborate in targeted groups to deliver specific projects through our #BetterTogether initiatives.

Last year was foundational for the Energy Charter. This year the rubber is hitting the road. As the CEOs articulate above, the Energy Charter creates 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”.

“The Energy Charter is about what we make of it. For us it’s an important learning opportunity and networking opportunity, but we can actually get as much out of it as we put in… It is about customers, and if we don’t have customers, then we don’t have a business.  Overall, the Energy Charter is what we really make of it and how we contribute.” Richard van Breda, CEO Stanwell

There’s always more to do, but the culture change accelerated by the Energy Charter is gaining momentum.