The Energy Consumers Australia Board Members bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in consumer advocacy, the energy market and regulation. Each Director brings their own unique perspective to the strategic direction of Energy Consumers Australia.
Louise Sylvan, AM
Chair and Director
Louise has significant experience in consumer affairs policy analysis and advocacy. She is Chair of the Reliable Affordable Clean Energy (RACE) for 2030, Cooperative Research Centre, a non-executive Director of: the Social Enterprise Fund Australia, the Australian Risk Policy Institute, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation; and member of the Advisory Panels of the Net Zero Australia project, the Australian Privacy Foundation and the Obesity Collective. Formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Australian National Preventive Health Agency, Louise was also a Commissioner of the Productivity Commission and Deputy Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) where she was appointed for her expertise in consumer affairs.
Chris Spangaro has a background in law and public policy and is a member of IPART Energy Savings Scheme Tribunal Committee. Chris is a former Senior Director of the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) where he led the Retail and Wholesale Markets team addressing key aspects of consumer energy pricing and protection as well as the reshaping of wholesale market rules. Chris retired from the AEMC in 2017.
Chris previously worked for the NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) as General Manager of the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Scheme (GGAS) and as Manager, Water Pricing. Prior to his engagement with IPART Chris was with the NSW Cabinet Office and the NSW Ministry for Police in senior policy roles. The earlier part of Chris’s career was with the NSW Probation and Parole Service working primarily in disadvantaged communities across rural and urban NSW.
Dr Helen Garnett
Director, Member Risk and Audit Committee
Helen Garnett has held a wide range of directorships on government entities and ASX-listed companies in the energy, mining, agriculture and education sectors as well as entities involved in regional economic development and the arts. Helen currently chairs Generator Property Management and is a director of Developing East Arnhem Land, The Crawford Fund, Becquerel Laboratories and Larrakia Development Corporation. Helen is a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Helen was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2003 and the Public Service Medal in 2004.
Gavin Dufty is General Manager Policy and Research at St Vincent de Paul Society, Victoria. Gavin has worked as a consumer representative in the energy sector for over 29 years undertaking research and policy evaluation on its impacts on domestic consumers.
Gavin is currently a representative of a number of industry and government committees including Victorian, New South Wales and South Australian distribution company consultative committees, AGL's national customer council, the Australian Energy Regulator and the Essential Services Commission of Victoria’s customer consultative groups, a member of AEMO ISP consumer panel and a Board member of the Energy and Water Ombudsman scheme (Victoria).
Gavin was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the community in 2001.
Director, Chair Reference Committee
Virginia is a lawyer, corporate governance expert and a company director. She was previously a partner of commercial law firm, Finlaysons. Virginia has significant experience in national regulatory environments through her previous governance positions as a National Competition Councillor, a National Transport Commissioner, and as the Independent Chair of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Council.
Virginia is currently a director of the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, People's Choice Credit Union, Sportsmed SA, Anglicare SA and Agency Projects. She is also the Independent Chair of the Audit and Risk Management Committee of the Public Trustee, South Australia and the Independent Chair of the Department of Premier and Cabinet Risk and Performance Committee.
The Energy Consumers Australia team are committed to promoting the long-term interests of Australian residential and small business energy consumers.
Lynne is an economist/econometrician by qualification and has substantial experience in economic modelling and policy reform processes, including working with the Council of Australian Governments, and in strategic issues management in the corporate sector. Her career has seen her spend 15 years in a technical environment, followed by 12 years in practice and as an adviser. Prior to her appointment as ECA's Director of Research, Lynne was Executive Director, Industry Development at Energy Networks Australia. Lynne brings to ECA strong insights, a strategic focus and a consumer advocacy perspective which has been honed from her work with network businesses, retailers and regulators.
Graduate Policy Officer
Taneesha graduated from a Bachelor of Social Science (Dean's Scholar) and Science (Honours) in Human Geography. Her recent thesis ‘Everyday Urban Nature’ explored diverse encounters with unruly natures, including plants, animals, materials and the elements as well as governance of such natures. Taneesha also completed one year abroad at the University of Karlstad in Sweden studying Sustainability and Nordic Perspectives. She has experience in community engagement and behaviour change analysis and has worked in the Zero Waste Sector. Taneesha has diverse research experience, including international fieldwork and funded research projects in Indonesia. She has also spent time in Kosciuszko looking at social practice in invasive species management.
New to the Energy Industry, Taneesha brings strong critical thinking skills, and a human geography perspective to her role.
Manager, Insights and Impacts
Alexandra comes to the Advocacy and Communications team with 15 years experience managing and influencing stakeholders. Her background in achieving strategic commercial, political, and regulatory success has spanned a number of fields including industry, government, higher education and the media.
Alexandra was the inaugural Chief Operating Officer of the University of Sydney’s Centre for Translational Data Science, establishing collaborations between government, industry and academia. Prior to this, she worked as the NSW and Victoria Policy Director for the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) focussed on developing the onshore gas industry.
Alexandra holds a bachelor’s degree in Government/Political Science and Masters of International Studies, both from the University of Sydney.
Senior Policy Associate
Ashley joined the Policy, Energy Services and Markets Directorate in 2021 with an economic background and over six years of experience across the public sector.
Ashley comes from the ACCC’s Infrastructure Division. Ashley prepared reports monitoring the performance of the Australian petroleum industry and provided policy advice to government ministers on specific fuel markets.
Prior to the ACCC, Ashley worked at the AER’s Distribution branch reviewing capital expenditure forecasts for electricity distribution and transmission businesses as part of the regulatory determination process.
Director, Energy Inclusion
Kerry Connors has been with ECA since its inception, building on her extensive experience on energy consumer issues, previously as Executive Director of the Consumer Advocacy Panel, and the inaugural Executive Officer of the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre. She has also worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, including a posting to the Australian Embassy in Seoul, and has managed her own consultancy business, strengthening relations between the private and community sectors.
Ms Connors also sits on the Executive Committee of the Consumers Federation of Australia.
Director Policy, Energy Services and Markets
Jacqueline is the Director Policy, Energy Services and Markets with a focus on Australia’s retail energy markets.
Jacqueline has a wealth of energy policy and regulatory experience, gained through more than ten years in the energy industry. In her most recent role as Manager National Energy Policy for NSW Government, Jacqueline developed and implemented priority energy projects and represented NSW in the implementation of national energy policies. Jacqueline has had experience across the energy industry, working in roles at the Australian Energy Market Commission and energy retail.
Graduate Policy Officer
Isabella joins the Energy Services and Markets Directorate having completed a Graduate Certificate in Legal Studies. She also has a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in both Political Economy, and Government and International Relations.
Before joining Energy Consumers Australia, Isabella gained valued advocacy experience in the not-for-profit space, and through academic research as a New Columbo Plan participant. She is excited to support consumers' voices in shaping the future of the energy industry in Australia.
Executive Support Officer
Helen has over 15 years’ experience in executive support/assistance roles. She has worked in aged care, alternative energy storage, telecommunications, corporate and not for profit sectors across a range of industries.
Helen brings experience in event management, board governance and executive assistance. She completed a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture through University of NSW and holds a Diploma in Horticulture.
Graduate Policy Officer
Alice joined Energy Consumers Australia as a graduate policy officer in the Energy Services and Markets Directorate after completing a double degree in Communications and International Studies. Majoring in social and political science sparked her interest in environmental policy and Australia’s transition to renewables. She is eager to further her knowledge of the energy industry, particularly what a more distributed energy system will look like.
Alice has spent time volunteering her communication skills at various community organisations where she witnessed the real impact that unaffordable energy prices can have on people in financial hardship. She is a keen supporter of a transition that is fair and ensures everyone can take part.
Graduate Policy Officer
Marie comes to the Energy Services and Markets Directorate with a background in Human Geography. Graduating from the University of Sydney Marie holds a Bachelor of Political, Economic and Social Sciences majoring in Government and International Relations and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Geography First Class. During her honour’s year, Marie used photo elicitation, interview, and survey methodologies to understand the impact of COVID-19 on university students' food environments.
Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer
Amy joins Energy Consumers Australia with over 10 years’ experience providing executive support and assistance to senior executive teams in the energy distribution and tertiary education sectors. Amy brings experience in calendar management, event coordination, project support and overall executive assistance. Amy is currently completing the Certified High Performing Executive Assistant course with The EA Institute.
Business Process Officer
Kim has a wealth of administrative, financial and senior management experience gained in the not-for profit sector. Prior to this, she managed Financial Service companies.
Manager, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
Ciara has joined the Advocacy and Communications team in a management capacity with a focus on the strategic development and optimisation of Energy Consumers Australia’s digital channels.
Ciara is a digital communications and marketing professional with more than eight years of experience in a wide range of industries including sport, gold mining and publishing. With a background in television production, Ciara has a solid understanding of what makes innovative and engaging content and excels at applying her creative ideas to the more technical, data-based aspects of marketing and strategic communications across social media and websites.
Aaron is a qualified CPA possessing over 16 years accounting experience in a broad range of accounting roles across the Hotel, Hospitality and Sporting industries. Aaron specialises in financial reporting, analysis and budgeting.
Prior to joining Energy Consumers Australia Aaron worked for the National Rugby League where he oversaw the budgets for the High Performance, Club Services, Pacific Program and Women's Rugby League cost centres. He was also involved in fostering the international game assisting both the Rugby League International Federation and Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation.
Senior Policy Associate
Melissa is an admitted lawyer in Victoria and has a diverse background in both energy and the not-for-profit sector. Prior to joining Energy Consumers Australia Melissa worked in the energy retail sector, providing regulatory advice on all matters involving residential and small business energy customers, as well as being heavily involved in the rule change consultation process. Prior to energy, Melissa was a lawyer at the Mental Health Legal Centre working with a dedicated multi-disciplinary team providing access to justice for Victorian's experiencing mental health issues.
Director, Strategy and Corporate
Katrina joined Energy Consumers Australia in 2020 with almost 20 years experience ensuring the efficient functioning of organisations via Operations, Compliance, Finance, Fundraising, Compliance and Risk Management. Katrina has worked in a number of roles including General Management, Chief Operating Officer and Company Secretary in fast growing charitable and for profit organisations.
Katrina is currently responsible for the effective and efficient management of day to day operations at Energy Consumers Australia, providing leadership in setting the strategic direction of the organisation, supporting the Board and the CEO in a secretarial role as well as being a member of the executive management team. Katrina also manages our corporate service functions including accounting and finance, annual business planning and budgeting, risk management, human resources and IT.
Previously, Katrina worked at the Climate Council of Australia as Chief Operating Officer/ Company Secretary and even Acting CEO for 12 months. Katrina has held previous senior general management, operations and project management roles in a global business coaching firm as well as organisations in Australia and the UK such as AT Kearney, Macquarie Bank and Rothschild. Katrina has a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Sydney and postgraduate qualifications in Applied Finance. Katrina is also a founding facilitator of the Professional Environmental Women's Association (PEWA) NSW chapter.
Jawad comes to the Energy Inclusion team with over 10 years of experience managing grants programs across the research, commercialisation, and government sectors.
Jawad has significant expertise in energy policy and engaging with stakeholders across government, industry, and academia. Prior to joining Energy Consumers Australia Jawad worked within the ACT Government to develop and deliver innovative renewable energy programs, including Australia’s first residential battery storage program.
Director, Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
Dan has deep experience in digital communications, stakeholder engagement and content strategy across government, industry and consultancy.
He worked as a journalist, senior editor and executive at Fairfax Media for 16 years, across a variety of roles including Deputy Director of News and Head of Weekend Content.
Dan has previously applied his communications skills to the energy sector as Head of Content at the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. He then worked as Global Director of Digital Positioning at ThinkPlace, a strategic design consultancy spanning 11 studios worldwide.
Dan brings a high-level understanding of channels, audiences and content to his role as Director of Communications and Stakeholder Engagement. He is committed to increasing the profile and reach of Energy Consumers Australia’s work and to using best-practice digital communication tools and strategies to deepen engagement with key stakeholders and all energy consumers.
Director, Energy System Transition
Brian serves as Director, Energy System Transition at Energy Consumers Australia. Prior to his current role, he led CSIRO’s research and development program focused on the grid and renewable integration. Previously, he served in a variety of functions across the clean energy and utility sector in the United States, including managing a DER development team, as a sustainability consultant for Walmart, Coca-Cola, and LG Electronics, and as a registered federal lobbyist for utilities and clean tech companies.
Our contract team
Energy Consumers Australia's contract team members possess a breadth of skills to help promote the long-term interests of Australian households and small businesses.
Contractor, Advocacy and Communications
Phil Bourne is a digital engagement consultant with 10+ years of experience working across the media, education, energy and not for profit sectors. He was a key driver in establishing Energy Consumers Australia's digital presence, and now works through The Shape Agency to support delivery of the Advocacy and Communications work program.
Phil brings a depth of experience and skills to Energy Consumers Australia including content creation, videography, digital strategy and performance reporting.
Elisabeth is an economist with close to twenty years' experience in regulatory and policy matters affecting infrastructure utilities. She has particular expertise in the energy sector, with experience in market design, regulation, governance and competition analysis.
Throughout her career, Elisabeth has been involved in energy market development across all facets of the industry, from wholesale and transmission network issues through to distribution and retail market reform. Prior to becoming a consultant, Elisabeth spent over 6 years working for the Australian Energy Market Commission, with responsibility for a number of strategic policy reforms. More recently, she has advised clients on issues relating to incorporating new technologies across energy market frameworks, stand-alone power systems, embedded networks, retail contestability and use of energy data.
Distributed Energy Consultant
Anthony Seipolt is a self-confessed energy nerd. He has a passion for distributed energy and how it will change, not only the electricity grid but how we live our lives. A key focus for Anthony is as a translator - to translate between the realm of physics, and the needs of customers - bringing money and electrons into a common and understandable narrative.
Anthony has an MBA and has also held Board positions for a number of not-for-profit community businesses. He also has a passion for cycling, but best not to get him started on that. While working for the Australian Energy Regulator, Anthony led the organisation in understanding and adapting to the deployment of Distributed Energy Resources in the energy system. Anthony also presents regularly at national and international energy conferences.
He has a Master of Business Administration and is a former National Manager and Director of Parsons Brinckerhoff Associates. Anthony has delivered benchmarking and performance reviews for over 200 electricity and water companies across the world. Anthony has also held several Board positions for community not-for-profit organisations.
Our Reference Committee
The Energy Consumers Australia Reference Committee members are chosen on the basis of their expertise and represent a broad cross section of all of our stakeholder groups. The Committee advises the Board on emerging consumer issues and the development of Energy Consumers Australia's work program.
Thuy is the Organising Lead on the Voices for Power Campaign at Sydney Alliance (NSW)for affordable, clean energy for all. Thuy has experience in advocating for climate action with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. She has also been involved in policy and research regarding Australia's asylum seeker policy and international human rights.
Thuy is particularly passionate about working with ethnically diverse communities to ensure equal access to opportunities and resources so these communities can thrive. Through her work at Sydney Alliance, she hopes to support communities to address their concerns about power and the environment.
Prof. Neil Horrocks
Neil has more than 30 years of energy industry experience across the electricity and gas sectors including roles in retail, distribution and asset management. He is currently the Director of the University of QLD, Research Centre for Energy Data Innovation, innovating on the digital edge of this energy industry transformation.
Prior to joining the University of Queensland, Neil was the CEO at CitySmart, a sustainability agency dedicated to employing modern tools, methods and new research to understand and drive effective and resonant behaviour change in energy, water, waste and transport sustainability.
Dr. Fiona Simon
Fiona Simon is the CEO of the Australian Hydrogen Council (AHC), the peak body for the Australian hydrogen industry. AHC connects the hydrogen industry and its stakeholders in building a secure, clean and resilient energy future based on hydrogen. AHC’s members are from a range of sectors, including energy, transport, consulting, banking and technology.
Prior to joining the Australian Hydrogen Council, Fiona worked for close to 20 years in energy policy and regulation, specialising in energy retail competition and consumer protection matters. Fiona holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Melbourne. She has published a well-regarded academic book on retail energy regulation in Australia.
Geoff manages the ACT Energised Consumers Project at the ACT Council of Social Service, advocating for small energy consumers and for a just transition in the ACT. He has worked with ACTCOSS since 2015 with a focus on understanding and addressing poverty, inequality, and the cost of living in the Canberra community. Geoff has an applied research background in the social sciences. This has included significant engagement with First Nations communities on wellbeing, caring for country, and native title governance through roles at AIATSIS and at the ANU’s Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research where he is a Visiting Fellow.
A common theme across Geoff’s work is evidence-based advocacy for social justice – a focus he continues to apply to energy.
Justine Jarvinen (JJ) is CEO UNSW Energy Institute. She is an energy executive with international experience spanning the energy, finance, education and non-profit sectors over 27 years. JJ specialises in leading innovation, change and incubating corporate initiatives until they become established and flourish. Her policy and advocacy work have shaped public debate.
JJ was initially employed by the world’s top energy companies in engineering, planning and economics roles. Following on from this, she became a highly respected analyst at JB Were and later, Harrison Lovegrove & Co and New Philanthropy Capital. She joined AGL Energy, helping to establish the New Energy Division, and later Finncorn Consulting.
JJ is a Chairman of Wattwatchers and Non-Executive Director of Climate Australia. She has previously been director of ASX-listed, public and private companies and charities, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Dr. Georgina Davis GAICD GIA (Affiliated)
Georgina is the founder of the Waste to Opportunity Enterprise and current Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Farmers’ Federation which is the peak body for agriculture in Queensland. She has worked in energy advocacy for the past six years, achieving positive outcomes for Queensland’s regions and agricultural communities.
Georgina is a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) and holds several Board positions and various roles on government bodies and statutory authorities.
Ross is the CEO of the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) – the peak body for the non-government community and health sector – which leads a fight against poverty and inequality.
With a formal background and qualifications in Psychology, Ross is driven by the idea that we live in a community in which everyone is included and can have access the good things in life.
Ross has been extensively involved in a wide range of social and community services including services that support people living with disability, people who are ageing , people who are homeless, people who experience mental health issues, people with different cultural backgrounds, people who experience severe financial hardship, etc.
Ross also serves on a range of Boards and regulatory committees, with a focus ranging from energy and water hardship and regulation, digital inclusion, housing, procurement, gambling through workforce planning. This includes an interest in and knowledge of the critical role that access to affordable energy and other essential services can play in the lives of vulnerable people.
Ross continually looks to deepen and extend his understanding of many of the issues that will assist SACOSS fulfil its aspirational vision - that there is justice, opportunity and wealth for all South Australians.
Gabrielle is an experienced senior commercial manager specialising in leading teams, managing complex commercial projects and enhancing commercial outcomes. With 16 years’ experience in the energy sector, Gabrielle also has expertise in finance and business development.
Gabrielle Sycamore is General Manager –Renewable Gas at Jemena, where she is leading the implementation of the gas networks long term decarbonisation strategy. This includes collaborating with gas users, industry partners and governments to accelerate the integration of renewable gases into the gas network and enabling future network products and services. She sits on the board of Bioenergy Australia and the Future Fuels CRC and is a member of the Energy Networks Australia Gas Committee and Australian Hydrogen Centre.
Gabrielle has a Masters of Business Administration from Deakin University, a Bachelor of Commerce from Curtin University and is a Graduate member of the Australian Institute of Directors.
Simon Moore is responsible for Business NSW advocacy relating to the infrastructure businesses depend on to function, including energy as well as transport, telecoms and water. Simon sits on several energy industry stakeholder bodies as Business NSW’s representative, including Essential Energy’s customer advocacy group and Jemena Gas Network’s customer council. Simon was also the editor of Running on Empty, Business NSW’s 2019 assessment of the gas market for SMEs in New South Wales.
Prior to joining Business NSW, Simon has worked on energy and environmental policy for organizations in the UK and Canada. Simon worked for Citizens Advice (the UK’s statutory energy customer advocate) as the policy manager for strategic infrastructure, representing consumer interests in multi-billion pound energy infrastructure investments, including decisions on decarbonisation strategy, security of supply policy, and energy networks. Simon has written and edited research reports on energy policy throughout his career, holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Bachelors in politics from Lancaster University.
Dr. Phillipa Watson
Dr Phillipa Watson aims to support people to live great and sustainable lives. To this end, as a Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), she works in applied research with a variety of collaborators, to understand and enhance peoples’ real life housing transition and energy transition experiences. She has a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a PhD in human geography.
Her career of over 20 years has involved roles in research (UQ, CSIRO and UTAS), sustainable building consultancy (Brisbane City Council and RED sustainability consultants), and housing design (private practice). Phillipa is passionate about ensuring her work supports a more equitable and respectful world. She is currently chair of an inclusion diversity and equity committee for (three) built digital and natural environments schools at UTAS and is a steering group member of the Group of Energy Efficiency Researchers (GEER) Australia.
James has spent the last 15+ years working at the forefront of the energy transition in Australia and internationally. He has expertise in strategy development and execution, consumer insights, energy technologies, business development and partnerships. His experience includes deep customer understanding and insights and driving growth for Energy Australia and Origin along with spending three years in a multi-market energy technology start-up.
James is currently employed as the APAC Regional Director for Digital Grid for Schneider Electric, his group works with customers to support them on digitisation of their business and how to navigate the changing energy landscape. He also sits on Board for RACE 2030. Prior to joining the energy sector he worked in strategy and business development roles with GE and Coles group.