Energy Consumers Australia logo

Power Shift

Power Shift assists energy companies and government to deliver services and programs that help consumers manage their energy use, in particular low income and vulnerable consumers.

Learn more

What is Power Shift?

Consumers rely on energy – electricity and gas – for comfortable homes. When energy costs cannot be managed, people’s health and wellbeing are at risk.

The premise of Power Shift is that power needs to be in the hands of consumers so that where they can, through their own actions, they are able to take control over their energy costs. Consumers do face barriers to managing their energy use in today’s energy market, and these are particularly significant for low-income or vulnerable consumers.

Power Shift is a body of research providing energy companies, government and regulators with evidence on which to build better-targeted and more effective, and innovative energy management services and programs that deliver outcomes for consumers.

These services and programs could help rebuild consumer confidence and trust, by providing consumers with the information and tools they need to make an impact on their capacity to manage their energy costs.

Our Power Shift work builds on the data and findings of the Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program our Energy Consumer Sentiment Surveys and the work we do under our ongoing four research priorities.

  • Supporting vulnerable households
  • Capturing efficiency benefits
  • Making energy easy
  • Enabling behaviour change.

We are engaging with a wide range of stakeholders and the behavioural insights community, assisting their work in:

  • energy efficiency;
  • demand management programs;
  • pricing reform that rewards consumers for flexibility in their energy use;
  • developing guidelines and rules that empower consumers with the information they need to navigate the retail market; and
  • safeguarding the well-being of the most vulnerable consumers through the design of hardship programs and payment difficulties frameworks.

Energy Consumers Australia’s own work, the insights from Power Shift are informing our call for a market that seeks the empowerment of consumers through affordable, individualised and optimised energy services.

In 2018 we held a number of large public forums to engage with stakeholders on our Power Shift work.

  • The Foresighting Forum 2018, whose theme was Take charge: Shifting power to consumers in the using, making and trading of energy. The forum hosted in Sydney across February and March brought together consumer advocates, government and industry to discuss the interests of residential and small business energy consumers. The Opening Address by our CEO, Rosemary Sinclair is available here.
  • The Housing Summit on 5 September 2018 brought together consumer groups, government, energy industry and researchers to discuss energy affordability and how to improve the energy performance of Australian homes. The Opening Address by our CEO Rosemary Sinclair is available here. The Communique from the Housing Summit called on government and industry to set higher energy performance standards for all Australian homes. The Communique is available here.
  • Innovation in Energy Services Workshops were held in Sydney in October and November 2018, with some 100 stakeholders from across the energy sector participating.

Power Shift is funded through a grant to Energy Consumers Australia from the Australian Government, that commenced in September 2016.

Supporting further research

A Mechanism for Better Outcomes

A proportion of the Commonwealth grant to Energy Consumers Australia was passed through to the Group of Energy Efficiency Researchers Australia (GEER) as seed funding.  GEER was established by the network of researchers working on pilots funded through the Low-Income Energy Efficiency Program, and who were keen to continue to work together after those projects had finished.

Through its research and partnerships with government, industry and the not-for-profit sector, GEER works to improve the energy related wellbeing of disadvantaged and low-income people.

GEER website