CEO welcome – Newsletter December 2023

11 December 2023

It was great to see the recent announcement of the Industry Funding Model for Financial Counselling model that allows industries like Essential Energy to make direct financial contributions that will boost support for Australians who are experiencing financial difficulty.

This new federal government scheme has secured three-year funding commitments totalling around $30 million. Along with the Australian Energy Council, other organisations to get behind the model are the Australian Banking Association, the Insurance Council of Australia, Responsible Wagering Australia, Tabcorp, Afterpay and Telstra.

The funding model will directly increase the number and availability of financial counsellors to help support Australians during these times of increasing cost-of-living pressures. This additional provision for providing our customers with free financial advice and access to tailored counselling programs is a compliment to the support that Essential Energy already provides through the Uniting Energy Support Program.

Financial education, just like any education, is empowering. Understanding how to prioritise debts, how to develop a budget to keep track of expenses and how to negotiate with creditors can make navigating through challenging financial periods more manageable. Given the continued upwards trajectory of inflation and the realisation of the cost of the energy transition, it is even more important that industries pull together to support our communities through these times.

While talk about the cost of the energy transition continues to dominate the political landscape, it is important that we do not lose sight of the benefits. The Renewable Energy Zones proposed throughout our network footprint by the state government and the regional electrification opportunities were just a couple of the topics I discussed recently as part of the CleanTech Futures Series panel at the University of New England.

Electrification and supporting customers to achieve their decarbonisation goal is a key driver for our organisation. Working with Charles Sturt University on a gas conversion pathway, supporting the roll out of electric vehicle charging across our footprint and making the connections process easier for Charge Point Operators are just some examples of the great work our people are doing.

For a bit of exciting news, we recently announced the winners of our Electricity Safety Week campaign. Safety across our network is paramount which is why the program is run in primary schools across our network each year, teaching students about the hazards associated with electricity and how to be safe around it.

And finally, I welcome Grant Every-Burns as a Non-Executive Director appointed to the Essential Energy Board. Grant brings with him a wealth of industry and energy sector experience and we are delighted to have him join us.

As this will be the last newsletter for the year, 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 2024.

In this edition

Essential Energy Board Appointment
Renewables and the importance of the electricity network 
Electricity safety week competition winners announced 
Essential Energy and Charles Sturt University work together on gas conversion pathway 
Supporting EV charging across regional, remote and rural NSW 
Gold standard status for facilitating EV charging 
Connecting regional communities through data centres 
Essential Energy features on Canadian podcast