3 minute read

AGL’s role as an essential service in a rapidly evolving industry

Brett Redman
19 June 2020

Nobody could have foreseen what the first half of 2020 would look like.

As an essential service provider, we’ve had to be reactive, responsible, and lean into business continuity plans like never before.

For us, this meant leading the industry’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It meant being prepared to take extraordinary measures to keep the lights on for Australia, including preparing our operational people (and the sites at which they work) to spend time away from their families to manage the service.

We managed the financial impacts on both our residential and our business customers. We protected – and we’ll continue to protect – our employees and our assets. We embraced innovation to support our customers, our people, our communities, and our business.

This innovation is key to us, particularly as we look to shape tomorrow.

We’ve shown that we have the capacity and the capability to rapidly change – all while maintaining our core role as an essential service provider. And this rapid rate of change will further prepare us for the wave of change that is still yet to come.

Flexibility for a fast-changing future

Within the energy industry the future is changing at pace. We’re in the middle of the biggest transition the energy sector has ever seen.

For customers, our investment in digital and technology has transformed how our customers interact with AGL by creating digital tools and enhanced customer experiences. We now have the highest customer-rated energy app in both the Apple and Android stores, and we’re using application programming interfaces (APIs) between systems to set us up to be more flexible and responsive to evolving customer needs.

In terms of generation, we know, and we’ve seen, the value on innovation and technology to support the transition in the energy sector – grid-scale batteries, domestic batteries, virtual power plant orchestration, flexible generation like BIPS – all to support the rapid influx of renewables.

Continue embracing change

The importance of a responsible and stable long-term transition cannot be overstated when it comes to our energy future.

We are proud of the role our coal-fired generation sites play in powering our communities, and we know that they will continue to be important through this transition. And at the same time, we are excited about the new opportunities for renewable and flexible generation that are being driven by technological change.

These two parts of the AGL business must work together as we define and drive the energy transition in Australia. They are not contradictory or mutually exclusive. Both aspects are valued and respected.

Ensuring these two parts of our business work together to support change in our industry is the key to finding the way forward.

2020 has already delivered significant change, and as Australia and the world look to the ‘new normal’ this isn’t a time to stop. There is a real opportunity to keep pushing for progress and further use technology to drive better outcomes for customers and the community.

We have a long and rich history of innovation – from lighting up Sydney with the first gas lamps in 1841, to launching the world’s largest virtual power plant in 2016. We’re proud of our history, and we’re proud of our focus on innovation, and both of these will carry us into the future.