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Invitation to submit grant applications

ECA is seeking applications from organisations or individuals to undertake advocacy or research projects in line with ECA’s mandate and strategic priorities, and finishing no later than 30 June 2016.

Applications are due no later than c.o.b. 7 April 2015, and should be submitted to info@energyconsumersaustralia.com.au using the grant application form on ECA’s website.

Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) was established on 30 January 2015.

ECA’s constitutional object is to promote the long term interests of consumers of energy. This includes matters such as the price, quality, safety, reliability and security of supply of energy services. ECA will achieve that by providing and enabling strong, coordinated, collegiate evidence-based consumer advocacy on national energy market matters of strategic importance or material consequence for energy consumers.

ECA’s functions are laid out in its Constitution (available on its website), which direct the organisation to advocate on behalf of electricity and gas consumers, with particular regard to the interests of residential and small business consumers. ECA will undertake research to build knowledge, engage and influence policy development and educate consumers in the national energy market (NEM). ECA will work closely with consumer advocates and consumers on NEM issues.

ECA Grants Program

One of ECA’s functions – transferred from the former Consumer Advocacy Panel (CAP) – is to make grants to build knowledge and sectoral capacity supporting NEM policy development and consumer education.

ECA is still in its establishment phase, and will undertake a full review of its grants program after permanent staff have been recruited.

The Board has however considered ECA’s interim grant processes, and has decided that it will call for grant applications for advocacy and research projects finishing in the 2015/16 financial year that align with ECA’s mandate and strategic priorities.

Recipients of CAP capability-building grants or global advocacy funding grants are encouraged to consider this opportunity. The Board will not continue those grants programs (and notes that the CAP had also identified structural problems with the GAFG model and thus has not allowed new entrants for the last two years).

ECA Strategic Priorities

Projects should address one or more of the four consumer priority areas identified in ECA’s strategic planning – they are New technologies – their effect on traditional business models and impact on consumers Effectiveness of competition across the whole supply chain, and the ability of consumers to drive competition (see also 3 below). Reasonableness and affordability of energy prices, including how understandable pricing structures are to consumers Contributing to review of governance arrangements for the market bodies, and the impact of these on consumers. The priorities were developed through ECA’s preliminary consultation with stakeholders on its strategic planning. ECA will continue to work closely with stakeholders as it develops its own advocacy and research strategic plan. While projects can focus on a particular class of consumer (e.g. consumers in a particular jurisdiction) the applicant should be able to demonstrate the national benefit of the work for residential and small business energy consumers.