The ECA Board closed out the 2019-20 financial year with approval for funding from our Grants Program for three new projects. These new grants will continue support for strong and well-informed consumer voices across a range of energy issues.
The first of the new grants is the ACT Energised Consumers Project which will be run by the ACT Council of Social Service over the next two years. This grant is co-funded by the ACT Government and follows two previous grants that have helped to establish a strong consumer voice on ACT energy issues. A key focus for the project will be prices for gas and the long-term use of gas by consumers as the ACT moves to zero net emissions. ACTCOSS will continue to assist a range of voices from household consumers and small businesses through its Energy Policy Consortium. It also will work closely with financial counsellors to support better outcomes for vulnerable energy consumers in the ACT.
Funding was also approved for the DER Enablement Project 2 by Renew. Aimed at producing more benefits for consumers who use rooftop solar and battery storage, this project will build on the very successful DER Export Management Advocacy Project that has already brought together consumers, the electricity industry and regulators. As more consumers invest in rooftop solar and the electricity distributors look for ways to manage the impact on ‘poles and wires’, this second phase will develop a detailed analysis of cost-benefit for different options in a variety of locations to help the distributors meet their obligations while enabling consumers to enjoy the benefits of distributed energy such as rooftop solar. Crucially, this is intended to unlock further benefits for consumers without solar panels as well.
The Board also approved funding for the South Australian Council of Social Service for their Modelling differential impacts of changes to electricity concessions project. SACOSS will undertake this project in partnership with a number of other consumer advocates that participate in the National Consumer Roundtable on Energy. It is an especially timely project given that COVID-19 is expected to have long-term impacts on energy affordability and the capacity of some consumers to meet the costs of essential energy supply. The research undertaken through this project is expected to support a more informed discussion with governments and the energy industry about improved financial assistance through concessions and rebates.
The closing date for our next round of advocacy and research grants is September 10, 2020. We also consider CEO Grants for grants of up to $15,000 to enable consumer engagement and advocacy in government, regulatory, or industry processes, at any time during the year. Visit the grants section of our website here to learn more about our application process and some of the great grants that we have funded.