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$1 million landmark partnership to address energy hardship

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AGL Energy
01 November 2016

Evolve Housing CEO Andrea Galloway, AGL Energy CEO Andy Vesey, The Hon. Mark Speakman, Minister for the Environment, along with Kuac and Ashuil Gau along with son-in-law Dut, the first household receiving the solar package in Greystanes today.

Today AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and the NSW Government today announced a landmark partnership to invest $1 million in a program to deliver solar energy and help reduce energy costs.

The pilot program will see around 250 households have solar panels, a digital meter and a Solar Command energy monitoring system installed. Tenants will also receive a home energy visit by Kildonan UnitingCare to connect them with other social support services, and provide information on how to maximise the benefits of their new solar package.

One of the things we have learnt from engaging customers on our hardship program and undertaking further research in 2015, is that they consume around 30% more electricity when compared to AGL’s average customer base on an annual basis. This is generally due to a range of factors including poor quality building fabric, cheaper appliances with high running costs and limited ability to make changes to the property. In many cases, energy costs exceed the capacity to pay. For some customers this results in debt accrual, for others who may disengage it can also mean disconnection.

Addressing the root cause and high underlying consumption has to be part of the solution.

The development of effective solutions for those experiencing  long-term energy hardship, requires a shared-responsibility approach across industry, government and the community sector.

No single sector can solve the challenge on their own – we all need to work together to strengthen the support net. That’s why we’re proud to be investing $500,000 in this pilot program, aimed at addressing the underlying challenges for customers experiencing energy hardship. Installation of the solar packages are planned to start in December.

AGL Managing Director and CEO, Andy Vesey said AGL is committed to playing a leading role in developing a pathway to a modern, decarbonised electricity sector, and that means developing solutions for all customers.

“Working with our partners in the community sector, we know that customers participating on our hardship program not only have some of the highest levels of household consumption, they also have the least ability to pay,” Mr Vesey said.

“Collective solutions like these is an example of what’s needed – to help bridge the gap and to better address the underlying factors contributing to energy hardship.”

“The energy sector is evolving rapidly but that evolution, innovation and environmental benefit cannot continue to be delivered at the current pace if we end up leaving people behind. We need to be innovating for an inclusive energy future that serves the needs of every member of the community.”

We need to find new ways to ensure the benefits of new energy saving technologies like solar and digital meters are being maximised and also able to go to households who need it most.

NSW community housing providers participating in the pilot project include Evolve Housing, Bridge Housing and SGCH.

AGL’s $500,000 contribution to the pilot program, under the NSW Government’s Home Energy Action Clean Energy program, is part of its $6.5 million Affordability Initiative which was launched in 2014.