Reports show Victorians want equitable access to renewables

Citipower and Powercor general manager regulation Renate Vogt talking to focus group (victorians reports)
Citipower and Powercor general manager regulation Renate Vogt

Victorians expect equitable access to renewable energy no matter where they live, according to new reports released by CitiPower and Powercor

CitiPower and Powercor recently consulted more than 140 customers across 11 forums as they launched their largest customer engagement program ever to build new business plans for 2026-2031. 

General manager regulation Renate Vogt said the forums and reports provided each business with insights from a diverse range of Victorians that would help shape and influence investment in both networks. 

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“Understanding customers’ priorities and their expectations of our services is critical to ensuring we’re investing in our networks in a way that delivers value for our communities,” she said. 

The sessions were held across western Victorian and Melbourne, including Torquay, Bendigo, Ballarat, and South Melbourne, as well as online engagement targeting rural areas and culturally and linguistical diverse communities (CALD). 

The insights gained will help design major projects or initiatives planned by the networks as well as refine the topics that will be subject to further consultation and engagement with people in 2023.

The CitiPower and Powercor Broad and Wide Stakeholder Engagement summary reports examine what customers’ priorities are in relation to four broad themes—reliability and resilience, affordability and equity, energy transformation and customer experience. 

Insights will be incorporated into new business plans (called regulatory proposals) that are built every five years and must be reviewed and approved by the Australian Energy Regulator. The process is referred to as a regulatory reset. 

Key findings from the Broad and Wide engagement includes:

  • when asked to vote, people identified the importance of reliability and resilience ahead of the energy transition, using the rationale that more frequent extreme weather events
  • people expected our networks to lead the energy transition, while keeping network costs affordable
  • people in regional areas expected reliability to be the same as in metropolitan areas, while also wanting equal access to the benefits of the energy transition.

“There were some really interesting insights as customers told us they really valued the work we’re doing to enable the energy transition, but above all they still valued affordability and reliability and resilience as most important,” Vogt said.

“Customers said they wanted investments to future-proof their local network as much as possible against extreme weather events, which we know are becoming more severe and occurring more frequently.”

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“The five-year plans we are developing will coincide with the largest transformation ever in the energy sector as Victoria aims to reduce emissions by 80 per cent, by 2035.”

“As networks, our role is critical in ensuring our State can meet these targets, and our investment plans will need to make sure we are ready for these exciting changes.” 

CitiPower and Powercor will continue consulting and engaging with customers throughout 2023, with the next session to be held with First Nations representatives in Shepparton later this month.  

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