Towards energy equity – a strategy for an inclusive energy market was published on 20 October 2022.
The Towards energy equity strategy is focused on reducing barriers to participation, supporting consumers experiencing payment difficulty, ensuring the consumer voice is heard in sector reforms and improving affordability by reducing the cost to serve energy consumers.
It identifies 5 core objectives and 15 actions that we will undertake in the next 3 years. They are to:
- improve identification of vulnerability
- reduce complexity and enhance accessibility for energy consumers
- strengthen protections for consumers facing payment difficulty
- use the consumer voice and lived experience to inform regulatory design and change
- balance affordability and consumer protections by minimising the overall cost to serve.
The AER is prioritising protecting consumers experiencing vulnerability, while enabling consumers to participate in energy markets – as outlined in the AER 2020–25 Strategic Plan.
In February 2020, we launched research conducted for us by the Consumer Policy Research Centre: Exploring regulatory approaches to consumer vulnerability: A report for the Australian Energy Regulator.
On 21 December 2021 we released the draft Consumer vulnerability strategy (now known as the Towards energy equity strategy). We received 24 stakeholder submissions.
During May 2022, we formed a community of consumers with lived experience of vulnerability in the energy market. The research obtained from this community helped us deepen our understanding of the lived experience of consumers and support the Towards energy equity strategy.