The Energy Charter Independent Accountability Panel — Aurora Energy
TasCOSS acknowledges Aurora’s commitment to the Energy Charter and the progress it has made against the principles. The past year has presented challenges like no other and Aurora’s response to supporting customers and staff through COVID-19 is to be commended.
We consider Aurora’s self-assessment to be fair, noting progress against a number of principles, but we have also identified areas where greater effort or improvements can be made.
Positive initiatives and activities that align with the principles include: co-funding an energy advocate role; establishing a Community Consultation Forum; the development of free affordability tools; and customer segmentation to better understand needs and tailor communications.
Areas for improvement that will help Aurora progress to the next level of maturity include: removing the aurora+ app fee; improving affordability; transitioning to a zero disconnections policy; improved customer education and communications; reducing bill shock; and efforts to better identify vulnerable customers.
The need for Aurora to embed the Energy Charter principles are especially important in the wake of COVID-19. Increased household energy consumption from staying at home, combined with increased financial vulnerability due to loss of income or employment, increase the need to genuinely engage with customers and tailor responses to their individual circumstances. In particular, this includes providing customers with improved access to tools that enable greater visibility of their energy usage and the ability to better manage their costs.