As we move into a new financial year, I thought I’d share an update on how our work has gone this last year and reiterate that my virtual door is always open and I want to know how we can better engage with you during this unique time. As much as sometimes I feel in 2020 that I am in a William Gibson novel or Bladerunner film, there have been benefits for the Australian Energy Market Commission in moving more into the virtual world which I wanted to share.
A stocktake of the year just past shows that, even despite the unexpected story of 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic – our workload has only continued to grow.
In fact, this has been one of the busiest years on record for us.
In fiscal 2020, the AEMC completed 48 rule changes – the most ever in a single year. We have been involved in 17 projects through our membership of the Energy Security Board that reports to federal and state energy ministers.
This is the third consecutive year where we have received more than 30 rule requests.
The workload is intense because, like you, we are in a sector that is at the forefront of technology- and consumer-led change. From the increasing uptake of distributed energy resources to the interest that industry has in more flexible gas markets, the change inherent in the sector means we continually need to ensure the regulatory frameworks are fit-for-purpose.
While the pandemic has restricted so many aspects of all our lives, the importance of having the right policy and rules for a changing energy sector only grows.
Which brings me to my key point: while we have adapted our engagement during COVID-19 to a virtual model, we always want to do better. Your input is critical in getting the right policy and rules, but your time is also critical. We want to maximise the value of that time in how we engage and I want to know how we can improve.
We moved our stakeholder engagement online as part of our COVID management plan. We have found this has allowed us to expand our reach. We are having greater stakeholder input. Stakeholders tell us that a wider reach of people from within their organisation are able to engage. The AEMC has also been able to deliver greater access to senior management through our online forums.
To this end, I’d like to thank our stakeholders for their enthusiastic and helpful participation in our recent quarterly survey.
We asked you for feedback on our efforts to adapt engagement during COVID-19. I’m delighted that we had 94 responses that rated our response to the pandemic and that the average rating was 8 out of 10. Some 85 per cent of stakeholders rated us seven or higher.
Thank you to those of you who provided suggestions on this in the recent survey. We are working through these to refine the work we do. As we all find our way around this brave new world of online video meetings, the AEMC is looking at how to get the best out of it for everyone and I’m keen to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to improve. One idea we have received is that we need to improve how we update our calendar of consultation. But what else could we do? Please shout out at firstname.lastname@example.org.