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Jemena is to cut electricity charges for its residential customers in north-west Melbourne by as much as $320 and reduce network charges for Victorian small businesses by an average of $739 over five years beginning July 2021.

The changes are part of Jemena’s Regulatory Proposal for the 2021-26 period to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER).

Jemena Executive General Manager of Electricity Distribution, Shaun Reardon, said it is now up to the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) to endorse Jemena’s proposal so that it can benefit customers from July 2021.

“We consulted extensively with our residential and business customers over two years to develop this proposal and they supported the draft, which was made available for public consultation last year,” Mr Reardon said.

“With such a strong endorsement of our proposal by our customers, we believe the AER must approve it in full. It will then be up to energy retailers to pass these savings onto customers.”

Mr Reardon said customers consistently highlighted energy affordability as a priority during consultations, but they did not want to compromise reliability.

“Affordability was an issue that almost every customer raised with us during the customer consultation phase. We are proposing to reduce residential electricity network charges by an average of $320 over five years while continuing to maintain the reliability of the network,” Mr Reardon said. 

Preparing the electricity network to support an increased use of renewable energy was also a top priority for customers. 

The proposal includes a number of improvements and initiatives to prepare the network for the future. These include:

  • Connecting over 30,000 new residential customers and 1,300 business customers
  • Replacing or enforcing over 7,300 electricity poles
  • Providing over 65MW of new renewable energy generation with a platform to export
  • Adding 50MWh of new battery storage capacity to the grid
  • Investing in new technology to prepare the network for the future
  • Enabling the connection of more renewable energy sources for a more sustainable future

“In addition to lowering prices, we’re planning for the future to enable greater connection of renewable energy. The proposal includes a number of initiatives that enable more feed-in to the electricity network from Distributed Energy Resources like solar panels and battery storage,” Mr Reardon said. 

“As part of our first phase of customer consultation we held a series of People’s Panel workshops where we engaged actively over many weeks with a cross section of community members in Melbourne’s north-west to understand their views on the future of our electricity network. 

“Not only did we listen to what our customers wanted, we adopted each of the 25 recommendations from the People’s Panel.”

The AER is expected to make a draft determination of Jemena’s proposal later in 2020. The proposal can be viewed here. 

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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