Victorians to have their say on consumer energy upgrades

Person's hand plugging charger into electric vehicle (consumer energy)
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Victorian electricity distribution networks CitiPower and Powercor are inviting customers and stakeholders to provide input into the future of consumer energy resources.

A new consultation paper addresses the increasing adoption of solar panels and electric vehicles, which is changing the way customers generate and consume energy. Input is being sought to inform the electricity distributors’ investment and product plans for the 2026–2031 period.

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The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) forecasts that customers are set to almost double their use of rooftop solar by 2031, surging from around 4,200MW today to 9,300MW by 2031. Solar capacity has already doubled over the last five years as investment in renewable technologies has surged, supported by government policies such as the Solar Homes program.

CitiPower and Powercor customers are being invited to have their say on how the distribution networks should respond to the increased uptake of these technologies, as well as who should pay for them, as part of their extensive consultation program to inform their regulatory reset proposals for the 2026-2031 period.

“Customers are increasingly driving the energy transition, as they look for ways to reduce their emissions, reduce their electricity bills and achieve greater energy independence,” CitiPower and Powercor general manager, regulation Renate Vogt said.

“It’s critical that our customers are at the centre of our network investment and product decisions, as they’re the ones who ultimately pay for, and benefit from, this infrastructure. This is an opportunity for Victorians to have their say on how we respond to these technologies, to ensure our plans for the network meet their expectations and deliver value.”

The consultation follows research conducted by Monash University’s Emerging Technologies Research Lab on behalf of CitiPower and Powercor, which identified several key trends in how customers expect to use solar and EVs in the future.

The research found that 77% of respondents who have an EV, or are intending to purchase one in the next five years, are planning to charge it at home, which is expected to place pressure on peak demand, create additional capacity constraints and increase the frequency of low voltage events.

In addition to the call for written submissions, an in-person summit will be held on 28 November 2023 where customers, local council representatives and special interest groups involved in the energy transition will convene to discuss and debate the key themes outlined in the paper.

Related article: CitiPower and Powercor want NEO rule changes fast tracked

CitiPower and Powercor’s regulatory proposals for the 2026-2031 period are being developed through extensive engagement with customers and stakeholders. Proposals will be submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for review and approval in January 2025.

CitiPower customers can find out more here while Powercor customers can refer to this link.

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