Designing the future electricity network with customers

09 September 2022

Essential Energy is encouraging people to have their say on its Draft 2024-29 Regulatory Proposal which was launched on 1 September 2022. This Draft Proposal outlines how Essential Energy will continue to deliver safe and reliable power to the communities it serves, while continuing to strengthen the network’s resilience to extreme weather events and its ability to manage increasing amounts of electricity exports and the electrification of transport and business. The Draft Proposal also contains expected changes to network pricing and pricing structures.

The proposal is open for public feedback until 10 October 2022.

“We’ve developed this Draft Proposal through listening to hundreds of customers and stakeholders across our network footprint. We believe this proposal reflects what we heard – the desire from all parties to add greater resiliency to the network and expectations for renewable energy to drive the energy network of the future,” said Acting General Manager Corporate Affairs, Natalie Lindsay.

Essential Energy commenced a multi-phased program of customer and stakeholder engagement activities in mid-2021. The findings from these activities aims to ensure the Regulatory Proposal balances Essential Energy’s business needs, with the priorities and expectations of its customers.

“Our teams have been working with customers and stakeholders from across our network footprint for the past 15 months, to co-design our business’ 2024-29 Regulatory Proposal. We’re proud of our results given we had to negotiate the challenges of delivering effective engagement in a mostly-online environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms Lindsay continued.

Essential Energy engaged with customers to ascertain their priorities, preferred customer service measures, risks to be considered in investment decision making and their vision for the network of the future. Customers were asked to consider investment trade-offs and their preferred outcomes, to continue to deliver safe, reliable and affordable electricity whilst also beginning to make the network fit for the future. Customer pricing and ‘future proof’ pricing structures, that will improve fairness by better reflecting the costs that different customer impose on the network, were also covered.

“The energy industry is in the midst of rapid change, so customer and stakeholder input is crucial to ensuring that our network can deliver the products and services our customers desire both now, and into the future.” Ms Lindsay explained.

She added, “What we heard from customers and stakeholders on this engagement journey is that we need to start preparing for the future now. How quickly we adjust to these changes is a delicate balance between improvements to resilience, reliability and power quality, and the impact on electricity bills.”

“In addition to our business-as-usual activities, their feedback has provided an investment pathway that will allow us to adapt from a traditional ‘poles and wires’ network, to a provider of efficient electricity solutions, ensuring our customers’ energy needs and future expectations are met.” Ms Lindsay concluded.

Essential Energy is required to submit a Regulatory Proposal to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) every five years. This needs to detail Essential Energy’s plans for operating, maintaining, and investing in the electricity network, as well as how costs will be recovered from electricity consumers.

Essential Energy is currently testing the Draft Proposal with customers and stakeholders and will make adjustments as required ahead of submitting the Final Proposal to the AER in January 2023. Essential Energy is urging the community to provide feedback on the Draft Proposal by 10 October 2022, to ensure their views and expectations can be incorporated into the Final submission. The proposal can be viewed via