Energy sector pledges greater collaboration to support customers

Increased collaboration, greater customer support and an increased signatory base have been identified by the Energy Charter as critical next steps in 2021, following a new report released today.

Made up of 18 energy companies, including generators, distribution and transmission businesses, and retailers, Energy Charter signatories have pledged to work closer together over the next twelve months to do even more to support customers as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Following its annual review of Energy Charter signatory disclosures, the Independent Accountability Panel (IAP) released its second annual report today and encouraged industry to be proactive and collaborative in response to customers in vulnerable circumstances and the energy transition.

Chair of the Energy Charter CEO Council, Ben Wilson said that 2020 had been an extremely challenging year for energy consumers, with bushfires, floods and the global pandemic. The unique structure of the Energy Charter allowed companies from across all areas of the supply chain to collaborate through #BetterTogether initiatives to support customers. This was recognised by the IAP as a credit to signatories on their commitment to supporting customers.

Key achievements over the past 12 months included:

  • Launching a focused awareness campaign “We’ve got you” during COVID-19 to inform customers of the help available to them, translated across 10 languages.
  • All signatories publishing customer satisfaction scores– an industry first.
  • Driving 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.

“We are two years into our journey and there have been definite improvements for energy customers and communities, but we recognise there is more we can do,’ Mr Wilson said.

“The Independent Accountability Panel’s message is clear. We need to do more to support customers as households and businesses get up and running after the many challenges this year. We need to come together to better plan the path to meeting customer and community expectations on net zero by 2050.”

“We thank the Independent Accountability Panel for their report and recommendations. The Energy Charter signatories will continue to collaborate across industry and with customer advocates to deliver on these recommendations over the next twelve months to benefit customers.”

”With this feedback and the momentum we have established, we also look forward to increasing our signatory base by encouraging all energy businesses to join, as well as reach out to wider industry-related organisations and influencers, to ensure we capture a broader range of voices and customer groups.” 

During its review, the Independent Accountability Panel analysed the disclosure reports submitted by Energy Charter signatories, interviewed CEOs and held stakeholder and public forums. Led by Clare Petre as Chair, the IAP includes Cassandra Goldie, CEO Australian Council of Social Service and Andrew Richards, CEO Energy Users Association of Australia.

The 2020 Independent Accountability Panel Report is available for download via IAP website

Energy Charter Signatories

Established in January 2019, the Energy Charter is a CEO-led initiative of 18 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.

Signatories: ActewAGL, 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, Powerlink Queensland, Stanwell and TransGrid. AGL is a signatory until the end of 2020.

The Independent Accountability Panel

The Independent Accountability Panel is made up of:

  • Clare Petre (Chair) is a former Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW and a board director at Energy Consumers Australia. Her current roles include National Australia Bank (NAB) Customer Advocate, Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee for the Australian Council for International Development, Chair of the New Energy Tech Consumer Code and Board member of the Asylum Seekers Centre.
  • Cassandra Goldie, CEO Australian Council of Social Service
  • Andrew Richards, CEO Energy Users Association of Australia

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