The winners of the Energy Networks Australia 2019 Annual Awards have been announced, recognising energy network businesses that deliver customer outcomes and innovative ways of solving the sector’s complex problems.

Energy Networks Australia CEO, Andrew Dillon, said Australian networks were committed to delivering a smarter energy grid at the lowest possible cost for customers.

Consumer Engagement

The winner of the Energy Networks Australia and Energy Consumers Australia 2019 Consumer Engagement Award, Jemena, was the unanimous choice of the judging panel for its Gas Networks Deliberative Forum in NSW, as well as its People’s Panel citizens’ jury in Victoria.

Energy Consumers Australia CEO, Rosemary Sinclair, presented the award, saying that lifting consumer engagement with more innovative approaches was a critical part of the energy modernisation project taking place.

“Rebuilding trust with consumers starts with embracing them as partners in change and doing everything we can to inform our decisions with consumer preferences and views,” Ms Sinclair said.

“Initiatives like Jemena’s, to make engagement opportunities accessible and inclusive with translators, childcare assistance, transport services and in-language consultation shows strong progress, and we look forward to these approaches becoming the norm.

“To make energy truly individualised, everything from service delivery to consultation needs to be built around people, in all their diverse circumstances.

“This award is an opportunity to demonstrate and reward networks that are rising to the challenge of better consumer engagement, and we congratulate Jemena for receiving the award this year.”

Ms Sinclair said the judging panel was pleased with the calibre of entries this year.

“We hope this reflects how consumer engagement is maturing across the network part of the energy sector,” Ms Sinclair said

Other finalists for the consumer engagement award were Horizon Power’s Solar Incentive Scheme, Powerlink for its 2023–27 Revenue Determination and SA Power Network’s community engagement for its 2020–25 Tariff Structure Statement.

Industry Innovation

Victorian Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, presented the Energy Networks Industry Innovation Award to South Australian transmission network ElectraNet for its Dalrymple Battery Energy Storage Project.

Mr Dillon congratulated ElectraNet for delivering an Australian-first storage and market solution to accommodate the needs of a highly complex local energy system.

“ElectraNet’s model provides a blueprint that can be replicated by other networks and it is particularly suited to renewable energy zones and fringe of grid geographies,” Mr Dillon said.

“With a clear objective, ElectraNet has demonstrated great collaboration in thinking about how to solve problems.

“It has navigated the National Electricity Market registration, licensing and connection processes and then created the largest autonomous regional microgrid development to date, co-optimised for both grid-connected and islanded operation with 100 per cent renewables.”

Other finalists were ATCO’s Clean Energy Innovation Hub and Power and Water’s Darwin Distribution Fault Anticipation Trial.

Mr Dillon also congratulated Australian Gas Infrastructure Group’s General Manager People and Strategy, Craig De Laine, winner of the 2019 Industry Contribution Award, for his substantial contribution to network consumer engagement and Gas Vision 2050.

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