Consumers to benefit from Energy Charter launch

The Energy Charter
The Energy Charter's five principles

More than 10 million Australian energy customers are set to benefit after the launch of a world-first, cross-sector energy industry framework focused on better customer outcomes.

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.

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

The Charter sets out five principles to advance the industry vision and principles in action that represent practical initiatives to progress the principles. These are:

Principle One

We will put customers at the centre of our business and the energy system.

Principle Two

We will improve energy affordability for customers.

Principle Three

We will provide energy safely, sustainably and reliably.

Principle Four

We will improve the customer experience.

Principle Five

We will support customers facing vulnerable circumstances.

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.”

Related article: Energy Charter draft open for consultation

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.

The development of The Energy Charter has benefited from the contributions of stakeholders from the energy sector, government, business and consumer representatives.

The release of The Energy Charter follows a public consultation period in September 2018. The Energy Charter took effect on January 1, 2019. The first business disclosures will be in September 2019.

Those who have committed to the charter, which is voluntary, have agreed to publicly identify how they are delivering against the charter principles.

So far, The Energy Charter’s participants include AGL, APA Group, Aurora Energy, Ausgrid, 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 & Ovida, Meridian Energy Australia & Powershop Australia, Origin Energy, Powerlink Queensland, Stanwell and TransGrid.

Comments from Energy Charter Signatory CEOs

“AGL is committing to The Energy Charter so that the industry – right across the supply chain – can work together to improve outcomes for energy consumers.” Brett Redman, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, AGL

“As a customer-focused, low-cost Tasmanian energy retailer, Aurora Energy has committed to the Energy Charter which naturally aligns with our core focus on ensuring an excellent energy experience for our customers.” Rebecca Kardos, Chief Executive Officer, Aurora Energy

“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”. Richard Gross, Chief Executive Officer, Ausgrid

“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.” Ben Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Gas Infrastructure Group.

“Endeavour Energy’s future is linked to creating superior customer outcomes and enabling their future energy choices. The Energy Charter is a great fit with our commitment to place one million customers at the heart our decisions.” Tony Narvaez, Chief Executive Officer, Endeavour Energy.

“The energy challenges we face won’t be solved easily or by one company acting alone. The Charter is where we start, and it’s a good start. Ultimately, though, we’ll be judged on what we do, not on what we say.” Catherine Tanna, Managing Director, EnergyAustralia

“Energy Queensland’s vision, purpose and values directly support delivering better outcomes for communities and customers. Signing up for The Energy Charter is a positive step that illustrates our commitment and alignment to these.” David Smales, CEO, Energy Queensland Limited

“The Energy Charter provides an industry-wide platform to empower customers. With energy affordability, reliability, safety and sustainability at its core, it aims to enrich the overall energy customer experience.” John Cleland, CEO, Essential Energy

“The Energy Charter is an opportunity for our industry to make sure customers are front and centre. We know a lot of homes and businesses are doing it tough and the Charter is an opportunity for us to work on ways to bring down customer bills, provide more clean energy and enhance network reliability.” Frank Tudor, Managing Director, Jemena and Ovida

“This Charter brings together, for the first time, the energy sector. The Charter will ultimately be of greatest benefit to consumers as it will play a role making energy simpler, easier and more affordable for them.” Frank Calabria, Chief Executive Officer, Origin Energy

“We’re right behind The Energy Charter as it demonstrates industry leadership, with all signatories acting together because it’s the right thing to do. I am proud to say that Powershop Australia was built as an organisation that puts customers first, so signing up to The Energy Charter was an easy decision.” Ed McManus, CEO, Powershop Australia and Meridian Energy Australia.

“Focusing on the customer is all important. The Charter will help our business monitor and track how we’re performing against customer needs and how we can drive that all important customer focus.” Merryn York, Chief Executive, Powerlink Queensland

“At Stanwell, we honestly believe that together we can create energy solutions. Participating in The Energy Charter presents an excellent opportunity to create trust and ensure there’s transparency in the way the energy industry works.” Richard Van Breda, Chief Executive Officer, Stanwell

“The needs of customers are at the centre of TransGrid’s business and we are proud to be a signatory to The Energy Charter. The Charter commits all energy sector businesses to demonstrate the real benefits they provide to customers through delivering safe, reliable and affordable energy”. Paul Italiano, Chief Executive Officer, TransGrid

All energy businesses are encouraged to join The Energy Charter, regardless of where they fit in the supply chain.