CitiPower and Powercor have consulted more than 140 customers across eleven  forums, as part of its largest customer engagement program ever,  to understand their priorities and expectations of their services, which will help shape and influence investment in both networks.

Key findings from the program include:

  • When asked to vote, people identified the importance of reliability and resilience ahead of the energy transition, citing concerns around more frequent extreme weather events
  • People expected networks to lead the energy transition, while keeping costs affordable
  • People in regional areas expected reliability to be the same as in metropolitan areas, while also wanting equal access to the benefits of the energy transition

CitiPower and Powercor General Manager Regulation, Renate Vogt, said the forums provided each business with insights from a diverse range of Victorian electricity consumers that will help shape and influence investment in both networks.

“Understanding customers’ priorities and their expectations of our services is critical to ensuring we’re investing in our networks in a way that delivers value for our communities,” Ms Vogt said.

The sessions were held across western Victorian and Melbourne, including Torquay, Bendigo, Ballarat, and South Melbourne, as well as online engagement targeting rural areas and culturally and linguistically diverse communities (CALD).

The insights gained will help design major projects or initiatives planned by the networks as well as refine the topics that will be subject to further consultation and engagement with people in 2023.

The CitiPower and Powercor Broad and Wide Stakeholder Engagement summary reports examine what customers’ priorities are in relation to four broad themes – reliability and resilience, affordability and equity, energy transformation and customer experience.

Insights will be incorporated into new business plans (called regulatory proposals) that are built every five years and must be reviewed and approved by the Australian Energy Regulator. 

“There were some really interesting insights as customers told us they really valued the work we’re doing to enable the energy transition, but above all they still valued affordability and reliability and resilience as most important,” Ms Vogt said.

“Customers said they wanted investments to future-proof their local network as much as possible against extreme weather events, which we know are becoming more severe and occurring more frequently.

“The five-year plans we are developing will coincide with the largest transformation ever in the energy sector as Victoria aims to reduce emissions by 80 per cent, by 2035.”

“As networks, our role is critical in ensuring our state can meet these targets, and our investment plans will need to make sure we are ready for these exciting changes.”

CitiPower and Powercor will continue consulting and engaging with customers throughout 2023, with the next session to be held with First Nations representatives in Shepparton late in March 2023.

Feature Image: Ms Vogt attending the customer engagement program. Provided by CitiPower and Powercor.

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