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Oct 20 2022

Statement on AER’s Towards Energy Equity Report

The peak body for generators and retailers, the Australian Energy Council, welcomes the release of the Australian Energy Regulator’s Towards Energy Equity report.

The Council’s Chief Executive, Sarah McNamara, said “AEC members are continuously improving their customer support programs, as demonstrated by how they were able to help their customers during COVID.

“But we are always open to considering what more can be done and retailers support the AER’s objectives here. We also appreciate the AER’s acknowledgement that a whole of industry response is required.  Broad thinking, that goes beyond the role played by retailers, will enable us to develop solutions that can make a real difference for vulnerable customers. 

“Vulnerability is not unique to energy, and solutions considered must be holistic and economy-wide if we are to achieve greater overall equity. It is critical to the ongoing security of the energy system that those who can afford to pay their bills continue to do so, while we support those experiencing difficulties. The AER’s framework should only target those who are experiencing genuine vulnerability.

“As the energy system transforms, it is also critical that regulatory frameworks align with the changing needs of customers too.  This includes conversations with Governments about the effective delivery of customer support, emergency relief, concessions and rebates. 

“AEC members are keenly aware that communication with vulnerable customers is key to helping them.  So, considering how best to establish genuine two-way engagement will be critical.  

“The AEC has published best practice resources for retailers on how to support vulnerable customers.  The AER has acknowledged this work as a useful tool that can be built upon to ensure that retailers can build improved and effective relationships to support each customer, whatever their individual needs,” Ms McNamara said.

The resources are available here.

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