The COAG Energy Council will conduct the first independent review of Energy Consumers Australia following its first three years of its operations.

The COAG Energy Council agreed to establish a national energy consumer advocacy body on 13 December 2013 based on the Proposal for a National Energy Consumer Advocacy Body.

This report was developed by independent advisors in consultation with consumer groups and other stakeholders as part of the energy market reform package agreed by energy ministers in 2012.

ECA was established as a company limited by guarantee on 30 January 2015, and assumed the responsibilities of the former Consumer Advocacy Panel, which was closed on ECA’s establishment.

The COAG Energy Council considered the establishment of a national energy consumer advocacy body was an important step towards increasing consumer advocacy on national energy market matters of strategic importance and material consequence for energy consumers, in particular, households and small business consumers.

The review will assess the effectiveness of the ECA in performing against its intended purpose including areas for improvements.

Scope Matters to be considered by the review include:

  • The effectiveness of organisational structure, governance arrangements and operational performance
  • The effectiveness of the ECA in undertaking its roles and functions as the national energy consumer advocacy body including:
    • Engaging and communicating with consumers and consumer advocates regarding NEM policies, reforms and issues
    • Building national and jurisdictional expertise and capacity through research, knowledge development and consultation to advance the interests of Australian energy consumers, in particular residential and small business energy consumers
    • Undertaking robust research to build knowledge, engage and influence policy development and educate consumers in the energy markets

The review will be informed by consultation with relevant organisations including but not limited to governments, energy market bodies, energy market participants, jurisdictional regulators, energy ombudsman, consumer advocacy groups and grant recipients.

The review will be undertaken in two stages: A preliminary report on the effectiveness of the organisational structure, governance arrangement and operational performance is expected by the end of June 2018.  

A final report assessing the effectiveness of the ECA in undertaking their activities, the performance against stakeholder expectations and the effectiveness of grant allocation functions is expected by the end of December 2018.

Both reports will be presented to the COAG Energy Council. 

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