PIAC Evaluation of Consumer Engagement by NSW DNSPs, 2017-18 Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC published an evaluation of the consumer engagement programs undertaken by Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy as they prepared their 2019-24 regulatory proposals. The businesses received the following scores for their consumer engagement:
• Ausgrid – 2.8 stars
• Endeavour Energy – 3.5 stars
• Essential Energy – 4.0 stars
The purpose of this project was twofold. Firstly, to provide a framework within which PIAC can assess consumer engagement practices and provide ongoing feedback to the DNSPs as they engage with consumers. Secondly, to provide an independent, evidence-based assessment of DNSP engagement to the AER. While DNSPs are required to report on their consumer engagement process as part of their regulatory proposal, corresponding assessments from consumers are not often submitted to the AER. PIAC used the AER’s Consumer Engagement Guideline and other information to design an evaluation framework, allowing us to rate each DNSP out of five stars for consumer engagement.
Overall, there was a significant improvement in consumer engagement by the NSW DNSPs compared with that done to support their 2014-19 proposals. However, there is still improvement required by the DNSPs. In particular, more could have been done to ensure that consumer engagement programs made a measurable difference to the proposals. While the DNSPs have accurately reported that affordability is the primary concern for consumers, with reliability, safety and sustainability also factors, they are yet to translate this into changes in the way they do business.