World-first Energy Charter launched

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The Energy Charter, a world-first, cross-sector energy industry framework focused on better customer outcomes, has been launched in Australia.

The Energy Charter 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.

Seventeen businesses from across the energy supply chain are the initial signatories to The Energy Charter, with more energy business expected to follow.

Inaugural Chair of the CEO Council for The Energy Charter, John Cleland (CEO, Essential Energy) said the Energy Charter recognised that the community expects the energy industry to do more on energy affordability and deliver better customer service.

“The energy industry is undergoing a period of tremendous change and energy businesses need to transform accordingly. The Energy Charter provides a framework for the energy industry to work together across the supply chain to deliver energy for a better Australia,” Mr Cleland said.

“It will allow our customers to more clearly see what we are doing for them, and in turn hear from them about what we could do better.

“It will help to drive greater accountability and new thinking. We will demonstrate how we are improving energy affordability; how we are delivering reliable, sustainable and safe energy; and how we are putting the customer at the centre of our business.”

Companies which adopt the Charter will commit to five principles designed to create real improvements in affordability and service:  

  1. We will put customers at the centre of our business and the energy system
  2. We will improve energy affordability for customers
  3. We will provide energy safely, sustainably and reliably
  4. We will improve the customer experience
  5. We will support customers facing vulnerable circumstances

Accountability is a key part of the Energy Charter with the national consumer advocate, Energy Consumers Australia, to host an independent Accountability Panel to review disclosures and produce an annual evaluation report. Dr Wendy Craik AM has accepted the position as the inaugural Chair of the Accountability Panel.

Dr Craik is the current Chair of the Climate Change Authority and the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority. She was appointed to the Reserve Bank Board in May 2018. She is also a Board Member on the Advisory Board for the Centre for Strategy and Governance and the Australian Farm Institute.

She has previously served as a Commissioner at the Productivity Commission, President of the National Competition Council, Executive Director of National Farmers Federation and Executive Officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Richard Gross, Chief Executive Officer at Ausgrid, said, “I’ve signed on to the Energy Charter because the principles within the Charter align with our desire at Ausgrid to become a customer focused business. In addition to that the Energy Charter allows the industry to work together to build better outcomes for customers and build trust in the sector. I think if all the businesses deliver on the Charter, we will deliver better outcomes for customers.”

Ben Wilson, Chief Executive Officer of Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, said, “Customers will benefit because we will report back to tell customers how we are doing in terms of prices, reliability, customer service and decarbonisation. Customers will then be able to compare what we said we would do, with what we actually achieved. They will in turn be able to compare our performance to other utilities and if we are not delivering, customers will be able to call us out.”

Participating businesses: AGL, APA Group, Aurora Energy, Ausgrid, AusNet Services, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group, CS Energy, Endeavour Energy, Energy Queensland Limited including Ergon Energy Network, Energex, Yurika and Ergon Energy Retail, EnergyAustralia, Essential Energy, Jemena andOvida, Meridian Energy Australia and Powershop Australia, Origin Energy, Powerlink Queensland, Stanwell and TransGrid.

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