August 7, 2018
  • Committed around $40m to keep 2018 average energy prices flat for NSW customers; $65 a year average reduction for NSW Secure Saver customers
  • Average 2018 electricity prices for Queensland households down $80 a year; reduction around $470 on average for small businesses
  • Completed ~$10m maintenance program so 435-MW Tallawarra gas-fired power station in NSW can react more quickly to shortfalls in market supply
  • Acquired Newport & Jeeralang gas-fired power stations in Victoria for an enterprise value of $205m, providing the certainty of direct ownership
  • Signed agreements worth $50m to operate utility-scale battery storage systems at Gannawarra & Ballarat to enhance the stability of Victoria’s energy system
  • Invested $1.2m to close gender pay gap, so women and men at EnergyAustralia with equivalent experience and skills receive the same pay for doing the same job
  • Completed program to underpin development of around 500 MW of new wind & solar power in eastern Australia
  • First major energy retailer to remove fees for paper bills & over-the-counter payments by cash or cheque at Australia Post for all customers in NSW, Victoria, South Australia & Queensland

EnergyAustralia, one of the country’s leading energy retailers, today said it was optimistic that pressure on household energy bills would continue to ease even though the wholesale electricity market would likely remain tight for the remainder of 2018.

The company committed around A$300 million in the first half of the year to both short-term measures aimed at lowering or maintaining prices for customers and in long-term investments and projects to help make energy affordable and reliable.

Managing Director Catherine Tanna said: “Ever since the Hazelwood and Northern power stations were shut on short notice families and small businesses around the country have had a hard time keeping the lights on and their energy costs under control. Energy policy has remained uncertain and prices have gone up.

“We shouldn’t pretend energy is an easy fix. But in years to come the question will be asked of us: ‘Did we make things better?’

“People are looking for help and ultimately government and industry will be judged on what we do, not on what we say,” she said.

In the six months ended 30 June 2018 EnergyAustralia contributed net profit of A$375 million to its owner, CLP Group, compared to A$129 million a year ago. This included paying tax at an effective rate of 31.2 per cent.

Higher wholesale market prices for power generated by the company’s power plants underpinned the result, partially offset by a higher than usual number of customers switching products, reflecting intense retail competition.

Improved operational and financial performance enhanced EnergyAustralia’s capacity to support customers. The company continues to make investments in technology and programs aimed at reducing costs and improving efficiency in the immediate and longer term.

This year, EnergyAustralia has provided customers with the opportunity to fix their energy rates, committed around $40 million from 1 July to keep average 2018/19 electricity prices flat in New South Wales, launched Secure Saver in South Australia, expanded its hardship program for vulnerable customers and scrapped fees for paper bills and over-the-counter payments by cash or cheque at Australia Post for all its customers.

EnergyAustralia also acquired new, flexible generation capacity and signed agreements worth around $50 million to operate two utility-scale battery storage systems in Victoria, investments which will contribute to the stability of the energy grid.

Ms Tanna said in the second half of 2018 EnergyAustralia would make sure that all customers enrolled in its hardship program will pay a rate equivalent to the company’s best generally available post-discount price. This means no EnergyAustralia hardship program customer will pay standing offer tariffs for their electricity and gas.

Meanwhile, investments by companies including EnergyAustralia in support of new generation were helping stabilise wholesale electricity prices.

EnergyAustralia recently announced it had completed a program to financially underpin development of around 500 megawatts (MW) of renewable projects on the country’s east coast. Now, the company is assessing investments to help integrate solar and wind power into the national grid, including 1000 MW of potential new gas-fired power plants in New South Wales and a 225-MW pumped hydro project in South Australia.

Ms Tanna said she was hopeful the federal government’s National Energy Guarantee could provide a framework for long-term investment certainty in the sector and, ultimately, a cleaner, more affordable and reliable energy system.

“We’re optimistic households are through the worst of it and, finally, that all parts of the energy sector understand the challenge, and are working toward putting families back in control of their energy costs,” Ms Tanna said. “There’s more to do, but the ingredients are there for an affordable, stable and reliable energy system.”