Let’s face it, the energy system can be complicated. As an organisation created to advocate on behalf on consumer values, needs and expectations we necessarily participate in many debates, processes and forums that are highly technical in nature.
At Energy Consumers Australia (ECA) we have built a broad-based team with expertise in consumer engagement and advocacy, policy formation, economics, communications and more. We have decades of collective experience in some of the more technical elements of the system. But we also have a longstanding practice of working with expert technical advisers and engineers, to make sure our knowledge and our understanding are up to date.
We’re delighted to announce that industry veteran Anthony Seipolt has joined us, part-time, in this capacity. We sat down for a quick (virtual) chat about what that might mean…
1. You’re joining us as a technical adviser. What will you be doing?
My aim is to provide support and direction to ECA staff and management that supports better outcomes for consumers. This can range from answering technical questions, providing advice, and supporting reviews to contributing to media releases and submissions. I also hope to contribute to how ECA will communicate with and learn from customers as we move through the energy transition.
One area of real interest for me is distributed energy and how it will change, not only the electricity grid but how we live our lives. I’m hoping I can be a bit of a translator – between the realm of physics, and the needs of customers – bringing money and electrons into a common and understandable narrative.
2. What’s your background in energy? What experience do you bring to ECA?
I started my energy career designing electrical lines and substations. While that was interesting, I wanted to understand more of how the system worked, so I joined a benchmarking team in New Jersey and worked to help electric companies around the world improve themselves. Following that I moved into energy regulation and policy working for state and federal bodies.
As I said, my current focus is distributed energy. In a previous role I worked for the Australian Energy Regulator, leading the organisation in understanding and adapting to the deployment of Distributed Energy Resources in the energy system. I am passionate about helping customers get the best outcomes from this critical part of the energy transition.
3. What appealed to you about working with us?
I love learning new things. With a background in engineering and policy, I realise that I don’t naturally tend to think of problems from the customers perspective. I hope that through working with the ECA I will gain a better understanding of the needs and preferences of consumers.
Finish these sentences…
4. Something I think energy sector leaders don’t always understand about consumers is…
That consumers don’t think like they do. Engineers think everyone is interested in technology, economists think everyone is driven by economic outcomes, lawyers…. well, I better stop there.
5. Something that most people probably don’t know about me is…
This isn’t really a secret, but I love bike riding. I love almost everything there is to do with cycling (road, cyclocross and mountain). July can be a very difficult month when the Tour de France is on TV from midnight to 3am!