Electricity is always moving. Even when there is no voltage, electrons buzz and shift. Our energy system is the same – constantly transitioning towards what we project future generations will need it to be.
Successful organisations are no different. Those that stand still are, in reality, probably going backwards. That’s why Energy Consumers Australia has recently reshaped its leadership and team structure. This new way of organising ourselves supports our new Strategic Plan and allows us to better meet the mission, purpose, priorities and activities it sets out.
I lead our Energy Inclusion directorate. This team is focused on understanding and representing the voices of people confronting barriers in the energy market. These are Australians who can be locked out or disadvantaged by high prices, complexity or goods and services that don’t address their needs.
Our team leads Energy Consumers Australia’s work to support appropriate protections and safety nets for consumers when they need additional assistance. We also work with industry to encourage the design and development of energy services that accommodate the range of household and small business needs to ensure access to affordable energy.
We are also working with others to improve the energy performance standards of new and existing housing – homes that leak heat in winter or can’t cool down in summer are more expensive, and adversely impact people’s health and wellbeing.
The Directorate also manages the ECA Grants Program , to support projects aimed at delivering better outcomes for consumers. Our team supports ECA’s strategic priorities in a number of ways – the projects funded through grants provide greater insight into consumer values, needs and expectations by evidencing consumers’ lived experience in this market, and describing how we could all do better. Our policy work looks particularly to the need to ensure the potential benefits of new energy services are available to all households or small businesses, and that we are removing structural barriers – like energy inefficient housing.
The work of the Energy System Transition Directorate focuses on ensuring that as the technology, regulation, and infrastructure of the energy system changes, those changes actually meet consumer values, needs, and expectations. We work with others to help ensure the future energy system is one that works well for consumers.
Our team focuses on influencing, negotiating and informing regulators, State/Federal Government officials and industry leaders to ensure the best outcome for consumers, specifically in relation to the increasingly decentralised, bi-directional energy system we are moving to. This is a system that integrates consumer devices (e.g. rooftop solar, batteries, responsive water heaters) and increasingly relies on large scale wind and solar instead of traditional coal and gas plants.
We cultivate strong relationships with the Australian Energy Market Commission, the Australian Energy Market Operator and their Consumer Panel on the Integrated System Plan and the Australian Energy Regulator and their Consumer Reference Group on Rate of Return, consumer advocacy groups, and other key stakeholders. We focus particularly on network regulation and on post-2025 market reform.
The Energy Systems and Markets Directorate uses evidence and analysis to influence policy, regulation and business practice to improve outcomes for households and small businesses in line with their values, expectations and needs.
Across a host of processes, forums and other engagement opportunities, team members engage with governments, market bodies and industry to influence outcomes for residential and small business consumers. This can involve making submissions to consultation processes or taking part in working groups or advisory groups on behalf of consumer interests. We also work to support innovation in energy services and new business models that benefit consumers.
Consumers are increasingly engaging with the energy system, either by managing their energy use or installing and using distributed energy technologies such as solar, batteries and electric vehicles. Our work supports those engagements by making sure that governance frameworks and consumer protections enable their interactions and are fit for purpose.
The directorate also has responsibility for leading and managing ECA’s research program, underpinning the organisation’s commitment to making evidence-backed interventions in the decisions and processes that are shaping our energy system. Team members both carry out and present their own research as well as working with external research bodies and consultants to commission, manage and share specific research projects.
The Strategy and Corporate Directorate exists to build and maintain a high-performing organisation that has clear goals and accountabilities. We support all Directorates to achieve their strategic objectives in line with Energy Consumers Australia’s core priorities and implement internal strategies that build a positive team culture. We also manage all the internal functions that lead to organisational effectiveness and operational excellence.
Our team is responsible for the day-to-day management of operations including Human Resources, Finance, Information Technology, Facilities, Admin, Compliance, Legal, Risk Management and supporting the Board with its governance responsibilities while also fulfilling the Company Secretariat role.
The Strategy and Corporate Directorate also supports the board and CEO to drive a positive culture focused on outcomes, collaborative work practices and open communication. The directorate also drives regular processes (many of these annual) related to strategic planning, performance measurement, budgeting, maintaining good corporate governance, ongoing maintenance of our risk management framework, risk review and risk mitigation practices and reviewing organisational policies, processes and procedures.
The Communications and Stakeholder Engagement Directorate is responsible for communicating the activities and priorities of Energy Consumers Australia, both internally with staff and externally with energy system stakeholders, the media and members of the public.
Our Directorate sets communications and engagement strategy and implements it – enhancing the organisation’s ability to adroitly respond to issues, challenges and relevant events as well as to proactively create opportunities for communication, influence and impact. Drawing on evidence from a range of sources and collaborating with other members of the Energy Consumers Australia team, we produce rigorous and engaging content for a range of audiences across our website, social media channels, email, and events. We work with internal and external advocates to develop strong relationships, communicate policy and promote the work and impact of ECA and its collaboration partners.
Ability to communicate clearly is critical for an organisation that seeks to make impact through evidence-based influence. Our team creates moments, opportunities and narratives that deepen engagement with stakeholders and allow the great work of other Directorates to reach the right audience in the right way at the right time.