Our engagement approach

The decisions we make as a business are critical for providing a safe, reliable and competitive gas service. Therefore we want to understand the views of our customers, stakeholders and community and involve them in our decision making.

As part of the process of developing our 2015 Plan, we engaged extensively with our customers, stakeholders and the community to better understand what they want and value in their gas supply.

In particular, we considered how Jemena should respond to the changes in the gas market in a way that promotes the long-term interests of our customers – particularly in setting our service and price levels and price structures.

This involved:

  • Identifying our customers’ and stakeholders’ views on how we should respond to the expected gas market changes
  • Testing our customers’ preferences on our specific options for responding to the changes and
  • Making decisions on our service levels, price levels and price structures that reflected these views and preferences.

But we also want our customers, stakeholders and community to help shape our future business plans.  To ensure we understood what worked well and what we could do differently to improve our engagement activities, we evaluated the success of our engagement and the extent to which it met everyone's expectations.

You can find out more by reading the background papers and presentations that facilitated the discussions with the customer council.

 

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What have we heard from our customers, stakeholders and the broader community?

You told us that we should

  • respond to the changes occurring in the gas market by doing what we can to minimise large changes in retail prices
  • think long term by offering a value for money service that will continue to attract customers into the future
  • set our prices in a way that makes sense to our customers, and reflects their preferences in the way they would like to pay for gas as a competitive fuel
  • do what we can to reduce complexity and improve customer participation in the energy market
  • assist vulnerable customers manage their energy bills 
  • continue to inform and engage with the community on issues that may affect our services, costs and prices.

How did we engage with our customers, stakeholders and the community?

The Jemena Gas Networks Customer Council was established in October 2013 to assist us in understanding our customers and stakeholders and to guide decision making for our 2015 Plan and business-as-usual issues in the future.

The customer council is our primary means of engagement across issues that affect our entire customer and stakeholder base. It  comprises a diverse set of customer and stakeholder advocates that represent our residential, small business and large industrial customer base as well as our key stakeholders.

 

Deliberative forums

In addition to engaging with customer representatives through our customer council, we decided to engage with residential customers (including vulnerable customers) and small business customers directly.

We undertook a series of deliberative forums (or workshops) across metropolitan and regional areas of our network—including in Sydney’s Central Business District, Parramatta’s CBD and Orange.

These forums allowed us to engage with a representative sample of our customers including:

  • residential customers in both the metropolitan area and regional areas, including a range of demographics— household income, ages, home ownership status and primary language spoken
  • small business customers in both the metropolitan area and in regional areas.

A summary of the forums is available in Newgate Research’s community and small business consultation report.

Public forum

On 15 August 2014 Jemena held a public forum on our 2015 Plan.

The forum provided an opportunity for customers, stakeholders and the community to hear an overview of our 2015 Plan from senior decision-makers – in particular how Jemena is responding to the changes occurring in the gas market in a way that promotes the long-term interests of our customers – particularly in setting our service and price levels and price structures.

Jemena invited the Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) Consumer Challenge Panel (CCP) to present to the forum, providing attendees with an opportunity to hear the areas of interest to the CCP.

The forum also provided an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and seek clarification on aspects of the 2015 Plan prior to lodging their submissions with the AER. Submissions to the AER for its consideration in making its draft decision were due by 25 August 2014.

The forum was attended by large industrial customers, the NSW Government, the AER, the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and representatives from various public advocacy groups.

For more information, please see the summary of the public forum on our 2015 plan and presentations.