The Energy Charter has appointed an expert, independent Accountability Panel to review Australia’s key energy businesses under a world-first initiative to improve customer outcomes.

Energy Charter CEO Council Chair and CEO of Essential Energy, John Cleland, said the appointment of the independent panel was an important milestone in the Energy Charter.

“I am pleased to welcome Dr Cassandra Goldie, Mr Andrew Richards and Mr Philip Weickhardt to join the Chair, Dr Wendy Craik AM, on the independent Accountability Panel for the Energy Charter,” Mr Cleland said.

CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service, Dr Cassandra Goldie, has been appointed as the Panel’s consumer representative. Dr Goldie has extensive experience in economic and social issues, civil society, social justice and human rights. She has more than a decade’s experience in advocating for an affordable and equitable transition to clean energy, especially for people on low incomes.

Mr Andrew Richards, CEO of the Energy Users of Association of Australia, will serve as the Panel’s commercial and industrial end-user representative, having worked within the energy industry for the past 28 years and played a key role in numerous state and federal parliamentary inquiries into energy and climate change policy.

Former Orica CEO and Productivity Commissioner, Mr Philip Weickhardt, has been appointed as the Panel’s industry representative. Mr Weickhardt has previously chaired the Business Council of Australia’s Energy Reform Taskforce.

They join Dr Wendy Craik AM, who was appointed as Chair of the Accountability Panel in January. Dr Criak currently chairs the Climate Change Authority, is a board member of the Reserve Bank and the Advisory Board for the Centre for Strategy and Governance.

Mr Cleland said the Energy Charter signatories welcomed the wealth of experience and expertise the panellists would bring to the Energy Charter disclosure process.

“The Panel has an important role to play in independently evaluating and reporting on the performance of Energy Charter participants, recognising good performance and providing guidance on opportunities for improvement.”

Mr Cleland said the Energy Charter had been established in recognition that the industry was undergoing a period of tremendous change and needed to transform accordingly.

“The Energy Charter is a world-first initiative to unite Australia’s energy industry to improve customer outcomes through energy affordability, reliability and sustainability,” Mr Cleland said.

“Energy companies from across Australia’s energy supply chain have committed to improving energy affordability and delivering reliable, sustainable and safe energy, putting the customer at the centre of everything we do.”

The Energy Charter provides the framework for the industry to work together to achieve these objectives for consumers, users and the community.

Energy Charter businesses will deliver their first disclosure reports in September 2019.

The Accountability Panel will review these submissions and publish a public report on their findings and recommendations at the end of November 2019.

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