It’s hard to believe that significant areas of NSW have suffered through their third one-in-a-hundred year event in a little over 18 months. This edition covers some of our flood recovery efforts and the challenges we faced in restoring supply to impacted customers. I am once again immensely proud of our employees’ and contractors’ ability to rise and face these challenges. I am also immensely appreciative of the patience and understanding of so many impacted customers and communities.
Prior to the floods, the first quarter had already been distinguished by progressive changes in both our internal and external environments.
The NSW Electricity Roadmap was legislated in late November 2020 and represents a significant piece of legislation and suite of policies that aims to manage the State’s transition to a decentralised, digitalised and decarbonised future. One of the key pillars is the development of “Renewable Energy Zones” – located in areas with favourable renewable energy sources to support multiple new entrant generators, singly located to achieve benefits through scale, streamlined processes and greater coordination. With three REZs located in Essential Energy’s footprint, we are directly involved with operationalising and implementation of the legislation and policies to maximise opportunities for the Essential Energy network, customers and the communities we serve.
It has been pleasing to see the recent reductions in wholesale electricity prices to levels not seen for some years. Clearly it would be great to see these wholesale reductions reflected in customer bills.
Consumption across the Essential Energy network has been impacted by benign weather conditions (despite storms and floods!) and, to a lesser extent, the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
As part of our own commitment to continually apply downward pressure on network prices, our internal organisation-wide transformation program recently achieved significant milestones. The In Vehicle Monitoring System article in this newsletter is an example of the multiple layers of benefits our transformation activities will bring. The transformation is focussed on ensuring Essential Energy can respond to rapidly changing customer requirements as a consequence of rapid and fundamental change across the industry. Central to this is the operational flexibility to ensure customers can generate, consume and trade energy in new ways, while also operating our extensive network at a significantly lower cost.
These achievements have been realised with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing. I’m proud to acknowledge our employees and contractors continued efforts which has resulted in increased productivity in the past 12 months. Our COVID-19 pandemic response team continues to respond to the dynamic environment with a focus on employee safety, community safety and maintaining our ability to operate effectively.