CEO Welcome - Newsletter December 2022

07 December 2022

As we near the end of the year, once again we find many of our customers impacted by floods. Communities across the Central West and southern NSW have been hit by significant flooding, with our teams on the ground proactively assisting with flood preparations and supporting the recovery efforts.

These floods follow the devastating floods earlier this year across the North Coast of NSW and southern Queensland. In our network area, a total of 69,603 customers lost power during this event, from Bundjalung Country (Tweed Heads) in the north to Gumbaynggir Country (Coffs Harbour) in the south.

Our safe, steady and sustainable response involved 210 local employees and 215 travelling employees from 30 locations across NSW, along with support from all parts of the business. Despite the devastation and heartache experienced by many, community and local volunteer organisations provided valuable support for Essential Energy’s remediation efforts – including providing facilities for storage and repairs of electrical equipment, as well as accommodation and food provisions for our teams on the ground.

Climate research projects indicate that these extreme weather events will continue with increasing frequency. It is a topic we discussed with our customers and other key stakeholders as we consulted on our FY2024 - FY2029 Regulatory Proposal.

Our customers and stakeholders encouraged us to improve resilience to extreme weather events by both investing to strengthen our network and supporting the resilience of the communities we serve. They also shared a strong expectation that our network will be able to accommodate increasing amounts of renewable energy and consumer energy resources, like solar panels, batteries and electric vehicle charging.

Our work on stand-alone power systems, microgrids and storage is progressing; optimising network performance and helping improve reliability for our customers. Our strategy, and the programs of work that support it, continues to focus on delivering improved operational performance and setting us up to support our customers and communities as they become increasingly electrified and digitised.

We continue to see an unacceptable number of incidents where members of the public are coming into contact with the electricity network. Essential Energy is committed to improving public safety around our network and additional effort has been applied to our public safety programs focusing on both education and awareness. In addition, recent weather events have caused significant damage to regional and rural roads increasing the risk for the whole community, including our field crews who travel daily across the rural and regional road network. The safety of everyone interacting in proximity to our teams and the electricity network remains a priority for us.

The energy industry will continue to experience enormous change over the coming years. With clear strategies in place that recognise the key drivers of change, as well as very committed and capable employees, I am confident that Essential Energy is well placed to continue to provide network services in line with our customers’ expectations.

I want to wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy festive season, and I look forward to continuing to work with you throughout 2023.

In this edition

Dairy farmers getting value from the sun
Australia's first Hydrogen Stand Alone Power System
Essential Energy embraces climate-related financial disclosure
Global recognition for Essential Energy's Intelligent Digital Design System
Good neighbours