As the saying goes “Talk is cheap”. It’s your actions, not your words, that count.
It’s something I’m often reminded of in my role as EnergyAustralia’s Chief Customer Officer, where listening to what our customers want, and advocating for them within the organisation, is central to what I do.
What’s coming through loud and clear is that customers want the companies they have a relationship with to “do” - not just “talk”. And while once, providing people with reliable and affordable energy was enough, more and more they’re telling us it must be clean energy too.
We’re doing, not just dreaming
We kept our customers’ voice front of mind when developing our new brand campaign. If you live along the eastern seaboard you might have seen our new brand ads on your TV screens, which feature 36 EnergyAustralia people, not actors. I can’t help but sing along to the original soundtrack of Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t stop (thinking about tomorrow)”. The ad’s theme is that we’re an energy company who’s doing, not just dreaming, when it comes to our purpose of leading and accelerating the clean energy transition for all.
And we’ve got a stack of examples to back this up.
Helping our customers Go Neutral
Our Go Neutral product is something special. It means customers can choose to cancel out the carbon emissions from their electricity or gas usage, or both. Households are keen to make a difference and are embracing the offer in big numbers - we now offset the energy emissions of more than 380,000 customer accounts. And through Go Neutral we’ve offset nearly three million tonnes of carbon dioxide – all at no additional cost to our customers.
Solar and batteries made easy
Customers told us they wanted to get solar and a battery for their home but didn’t know where to start. They found it complicated and confusing – not to mention expensive. Through our two solar offers, Solar Plus Plan and Solar Home Bundle, we do the hard work by taking care of the system selection, arranging the installation and ensuring it runs as it was designed. But the most exciting bit is that customers pay nothing upfront. They pay off their solar and battery system over seven years, simply by paying their energy bill, then after seven years, they own it outright.
Sharing energy and slashing bills
And we don’t stop at solar and batteries - we’ve got our eye on what’ll come next. This year we’re supporting residents moving into a new-generation, solar and battery powered microgrid community in Melbourne’s north. The 36 homes and a large residents’ club will be powered by a combination of solar panels on their rooftops and electricity stored in a central community battery, slashing their energy bills. I’m sure this will be the start of more community energy solutions being rolled out across Australia.
We’re there for businesses – from St Kilda to Kings Cross
We don’t forget our business customers, large and small. Our ad campaign features the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, who we’ve partnered with on the installation of solar panels, solar bins and solar lights. And at the other end of the scale, Gelato Messina, a long-term EnergyAustralia customer for all their energy needs in its ice cream shops across Melbourne and Sydney.
Pushing forward the clean energy transition
While we’re helping our customers reduce their energy costs as well as their carbon emissions, we’re focused on the bigger picture too, and our promise of making the clean energy transition a reality. We recently updated our Climate Change Statement with a clear commitment to have net zero emissions (scope one, two and three) by 2050, to be out of coal by 2040, and to reduce our direct emissions by 60 per cent by 2028/29 relative to last year.
As part of this, we have announced the early retirement of the Yallourn coal-fired power station in mid-2028 and are building Australia’s first net zero emissions gas and hydrogen capable power plant, pumped hydro energy storage, and large-scale battery storage projects.
We want our customers to know that when we say we’ll do something, we do it.
Taking people along for the ride
It’s important to us that people aren’t left behind in the race to clean energy. That’s why we’re investing millions to help Yallourn Power Station workers and the Latrobe Valley community manage the transition. We’re also working with renewable energy companies, local business, education and government organisations to help create new pathways for workers.
A helping hand for those doing it tough
We also don’t forget that people are at the heart of everything we do. That’s why you’ll see EnergyAustralia’s people are the stars of our latest commercials. And it’s why we’ve been here for Australians doing it tough during the COVID-19 pandemic. We set up over 537,000 payment plans or extensions for customers during 2020-21 – an 84 per cent increase on the previous year. In addition, we’ve recently waived $1.5 million in debt for vulnerable customers, giving them a fresh start to 2022.
We’ve been here for business too. In response to COVID-19 we established Rapid Business Assist. Our specialist business advisors have set up around 15,000 payment extensions, 3,000 payment plans, helped numerous businesses with cash flow and provided advice on lowering energy consumption and guidance on government energy relief subsidies.
Because in the end, we know we’ll be judged by what we do, not what we say.
Mark Brownfield, Chief Customer Officer, EnergyAustralia