The Energy Charter – putting customers first
Today marks a significant day for the Australian energy industry, and more importantly, its customers.
A new Energy Charter – a voluntary commitment by Australian energy companies to be customer focused, transparent and accountable – will be signed by over 20 industry members in Sydney, including Jemena.
The Energy Charter is the first whole-of-industry initiative to address customer expectations.
We have been working hard to ensure customers are front and centre of Jemena’s business model and today marks the first time, the wider industry has come together to commit to making customers their number one focus.
Jemena is a foundation member signing up to the Energy Charter and we look forward to playing our part in delivering on the charter’s principles.
How will the Energy Charter benefit customers?
We know many people and businesses are doing it tough. Australians face rising energy prices, policy uncertainty, questions over energy supply and network capability, plus debates over renewables and future energy sources. There’s no doubt the energy space is complex which makes it confusing for end-users. Therefore, the Energy Charter is an opportunity for the industry to work together and focus on ways to bring customer bills down, provide more clean energy into the system, and enhance network reliability – all while providing improved services to our customers.
As members of the Energy Charter, we have committed to improving the way industry engages with customers. We want to increase the opportunities to meet in person, listen to feedback and find more ways of being supportive.
Importantly, we will be held accountable. The Energy Charter will mean public reporting, giving customers visibility on what has been actioned and achieved. And we are sure that if we do not deliver what we say we will, customers will not be shy in coming forward.
Our recent customer engagement process during the 2020-2025 pricing submissions for the electricity and gas networks is an example of how we already place customers at the heart of what we do.
During the process, we spent many months travelling across our networks, meeting directly with customers, hearing what they want and expect from us.
This feedback was then used to inform our draft plans which, coincidentally, have been released today for public feedback.
The Energy Charter principles
For us, the Energy Charter is a natural fit and builds on our values and approach to customer engagement.
As an organisation, we conduct a number of customer-focused activities throughout the year, participating in community programs, and we meet regularly with our Customer Council, a group comprised of community groups and customers.
Members of the Energy Charter will continue to tackle the energy trilemma of affordability, reliability, and sustainability, but now with an emphasis on community expectations. We know we need to rebuild trust in the industry and restore customer confidence by demonstrating that we are working on their behalf to make supply, and the network, as efficient as possible.
By signing up to the Charter, each member is committing to the five key principles:
- We will put customers at the centre of our business and the energy system
- We will improve energy affordability for customers
- We will provide energy reliably, safely and sustainably
- We will improve the customer experience
- We will support customers facing vulnerable circumstances
Following today’s launch, Jemena will continue to focus on delivering customer outcomes in line with the Energy Charter’s key principles. Later this year, Jemena will commence preparations for the submission of our first Energy Charter report, due in September, which will establish a baseline to assess our performance.
Our submission, along with those from other Charter members, will be evaluated by an independent panel comprising of several independent experts. We look forward to the Panel’s findings to help guide continual improvement for Jemena, and across the industry, to further improve customer outcomes.