TasCOSS submission to 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 continued to present significant challenges and Aurora’s response to supporting customers and staff through COVID-19 is to be commended.
We consider Aurora’s self-assessment to be appropriate for several principles where good progress has been made, but we have also identified areas where greater effort or improvements would be warranted to justify progression on the Energy Charter maturity scale.
Positive initiatives and activities that align with the principles include: COVID-19 Customer Support Fund; partnerships with community services organisations; proactive customer engagement; “We can help” campaign; trialled end-to-end service delivery model; new organisational customer-centric values; and the development of an online Community Information Hub.
Areas for improvement that will help Aurora progress to the next level of maturity include: removing the aurora+ app fee for residential customers; improving energy efficiency and affordability; transitioning to a zero disconnections policy; reducing bill shock; debt reduction initiatives; and removing barriers for customer access to energy usage data.
The need for Aurora to embed the Energy Charter principles is especially important as we continue to experience the impact of COVID-19. Increased financial vulnerability due to loss of income or employment increases 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.