Message from Ben Wilson, Chair of the CEO Council, CEO AGIG
The Energy Charter is a whole of sector initiative of 19 CEOs working together across electricity, gas and renewables to put customers at the centre of our businesses. We are not an industry body or a regulator – the Energy Charter is focused outward, on our customers, not on ourselves. We aim for “highest common denominator” – pushing each other to deliver for customers by promoting examples of best practice for signatories to adopt and collaborating in targeted groups to deliver specific projects through our #BetterTogether initiatives.
Last year was foundational for the Energy Charter. In 2020, it is all about delivery: what is different and better for our customers because the Energy Charter exists? This has been an extremely challenging year for our customers, communities and signatories with bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with these challenges also come unique opportunities to better support Australians, to step beyond business-as-usual and demonstrate as a sector we are working together on the vision of the Energy Charter to “deliver energy for a better Australia”.
2020 has also seen real progress in maturing our architecture to be fit for the next few years. We are accountable to stakeholders through the End User Consultative Group (EUCG) of over 15 stakeholder organisations. EUCG meetings have settled into a rhythm of constructive challenge– are we really delivering on the frontline? Thank you to Energy Consumers Australia who have built on their foundational role in the Energy Charter with their Interim CEO Lynne Gallagher stepping into the EUCG Chair.
The signatories, and this year the Energy Charter itself, are also accountable to the IAP through the annual disclosure and assessment process. Our inaugural IAP was appointed for one year only and we thank our outgoing Chair, Wendy Craik and panellist, Philip Weickhardt for their service. We welcome Clare Petre, the incoming Chair and continuing panellists Andrew Richards, CEO of Energy Users Association of Australia and Cassandra Goldie, CEO of Australian Council of Social Service. Importantly the new IAP is in place for three years, providing continuity and allowing all of us to raise our heads and plan for the medium term.
The IAP disclosure process is streamlined this year: a maximum of 10 pages, leaving ‘no room to hide’, just an honest assessment of what we have each delivered for customers, progress since last year and what we still have to do. The IAP Report will no doubt be similarly short and concise and will hold us to account on what we have and have not yet delivered for customers.
During 2020, the CEO Council’s ambition is that the Energy Charter makes a real difference for customers. We are doing things differently: many discussions between CEOs, senior executives, customer representatives and others would simply never have taken place had it not been for the Energy Charter. The CEO Council has set the tone to drive customer focus within each signatory. There is a deepening understanding of the Energy Charter principles within each business. We are driving improvement through the #BetterTogether initiatives. We are also collaborating more, both across the supply chain and with customers, communities and their representatives.
However, as the IAP acknowledged in their 2019 Report, transformative culture change is not an overnight task. It is a shift that requires changing the hearts, minds and approach of our entire sector. This will take years of sustained and committed action with leadership from all parts of businesses and importantly, ongoing engagement with our customers and stakeholders.
The voices of our customers and communities are what will drive our change.
Read the full statement from Ben Wilson in the 2020 Disclosure Report to the Independent Accountability Panel.
More information on Powerlink’s 2020 Energy Charter Disclosure Statement, action plan and summary of key themes: