SA Power Networks' Reference Groups

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Our Customer Consultative Panel (CCP) was established in 2009 to ensure the customer voice is considered in our decision making. Our CCP consists of a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in shaping the decision-making of SA Power Networks and includes customer advocacy representatives.

A new 15 Member panel was appointed in January 2020 for a two-year term. The panel consists of the following members:

Chair – Dr Andrew Nance – The Energy Project

Residential customers

  • Michael Leane
  • Doug Strain
  • Angela Faulkner

Vulnerable customer advocates

  • Wendy Shirley – SA Financial Counsellors Association (and Community Reference Group representative)
  • Mark Henley

Our Customer Consultative Panel (CCP) was established in 2009 to ensure the customer voice is considered in our decision making. Our CCP consists of a broad range of stakeholders with an interest in shaping the decision-making of SA Power Networks and includes customer advocacy representatives.

A new 15 Member panel was appointed in January 2020 for a two-year term. The panel consists of the following members:

Chair – Dr Andrew Nance – The Energy Project

Residential customers

  • Michael Leane
  • Doug Strain
  • Angela Faulkner

Vulnerable customer advocates

  • Wendy Shirley – SA Financial Counsellors Association (and Community Reference Group representative)
  • Mark Henley – Uniting Communities

Business customers/advocates

  • Mark Yates, Yates Electrical – Riverland
  • Andrew McKenna – Business SA

Renewable energy advocates

  • Matt Curnow - Sustainable Savings Pty Ltd
  • Mike Stone – Clean Energy Council

IT/ Government/ Policy

  • Scott Bayliss – Department of Education

Retailer

  • Elizabeth Molyneux – AGL

Arborist Reference Group

  • Kelvin Trimper

Local Government

  • Cr John Woodward – West Torrens
  • Karina Ewer – District Council of Streaky Bay

The CCP Chair is Dr Andrew Nance of The Energy Project who brings a wealth of experience in the energy sector and is committed to ensuring the customer voice is heard loudly so we deliver the services our customers expect and value. Andrew says:

“There is no doubt that SA Power Networks delivers an essential service. There is also no doubt that some customers are more vulnerable than others to losing continuous access to the electricity grid.

For some it’s their financial circumstances that makes them vulnerable to being cut off for unpaid bills. For others it’s their health that make them vulnerable due to a reliance on the grid to power essential equipment. For some it is a vulnerability to more frequent or longer outages because of location or bushfire risk.

The CCP strongly supports SA Power Networks efforts to understand the vulnerabilities of their customers and to be a leader – empowering South Australia - even if it’s not always something they can fix directly.”

For further information on our panel please contact Alex Lewis, Customer Consultation Lead.



Click here to access the Reference Group Members area

If you are a current CCP or RG member and are having trouble accessing the members area, please contact email talkingpower@sapowernetworks.com.au

  • Regional and Remote Customers Working Group

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    Remote and regional customers and improving the reliability for those worst served customers is one of the focus areas of our Customer Consultative Panel.

    A regional and remote customers sub-group has been established to look at opportunities to improve the inequity for worst served customers in the State in terms of reliability and electricity supply. One of the objectives of the group is to become better informed about the technical and economic aspects of Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) lines, the role they play in the network and the particular issues the customers on SWER lines face.

    Find out more about this group and the opportunities for customers here.






  • Solar Industry Reference Group

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    Please welcome the members of our new Solar Industry Reference Group

    Following an extensive expression of interest process, we are pleased to introduce the new Solar Industry Reference Group members who met for the first time on Monday 7 September.

    • Chair - Mike Stone – Clean Energy Council and Customer Consultative Panel member
    • Ben Lovell – Living Energy
    • Chantha Lake – Sun Energy
    • David Minchin – Enphase Energy Australia
    • George Nesic – Office of the Technical Regulator
    • Jenny Paradiso – Suntrix
    • Kym Nicholls – KNIC Electrical Services
    • Luke Shavak – Smart Energy Council
    • Mark Yates – Yates Electrical Services
    • Matthew Curnow – Sustainable Savings Pty Limited
    • Matthew Wilkins – Venergy
    • Patrick Greene – The Energy Project
    • Robert Sporne – Tindo Solar
    • Sam Craft – National Renewable Group
    • Simon McKay – Sol Energy
    • Tom Rieger – TPR Electrical and NECA SA/NT representative

    We look forward to working with the new team to develop the best solutions to ensure we are able to accommodate more renewable energy in South Australia.

  • A community asset, privately owned. We can influence its future

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    15 July, 2020
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    SA Power Networks owns and operates one of our great community assets: the electricity distribution network that runs from the South East through to the West Coast. This connects households and businesses to each other and to the ElectraNet Transmission network which, in turn connects us to the state’s large Generators and the rest of the National Grid.

    Some analogies might make it clearer:

    The body: If electricity was our blood, SA Power Networks are the veins and capillaries, but not the arteries (that’s ElectraNet) or the heart (that’s the Generators).

    SA Water: In comparison, SA Power Networks manage the pipes and connect your new home, but they don’t have a role in sourcing the water from dams, the Murray or the Desalination plant.

    In the past, the distribution network was essentially a one-way road delivering energy to customers from big centralised coal and gas generators. In 2020, as our electricity system transforms, the role of the distribution network is shifting to being the platform for how we share the power we are generating on our rooftops. And to be clear, South Australia is an absolute leader in this.

    Believe it or not, the price for SA Power Network’s services has remained below general inflation (CPI) since privatisation in 1999. This is the only part of the electricity supply chain where prices haven’t gone up.

    July 2020 marks the beginning of a new five-year regulatory cycle for SA Power Networks.

    Revenue and expenditure for this new five-year period from 2020 to 2025 has been set by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) and follows two years of SA Power Networks developing a proposal while engaging with customers and other stakeholders.

    Over the previous five years we have seen some genuine success in stakeholders influencing outcomes: much improved tree-pruning procedures and real progress on getting LED streetlighting rolled out after much effort from councils.

    I now chair SA Power Networks’ Customer Consultative Panel, or ‘CCP’, and the AER has approved expenditure for 2020-25 in a number of areas in direct response to consumer engagement from the CCP and others. This includes a focus on low reliability feeders – improving the reliability for those worst served (usually at the edges of the grid), a new approach to charging for using the network for households – making it cheaper in the middle of the day when we have a lot of solar power – and investments to make it possible to get more solar from our rooftops into the electricity supply mix.

    The Customer Consultative Panel brings together a range of views to be a sounding board, advocate and influencer. My colleagues on the Panel will be challenging the business to understand what customers want and need and to respond again in 2025. We will be focussing on some key areas but will also be ‘plugged in’ to the community through our personal and business contacts.

    Our initial focus is on six areas:

    • Customer Experience;
    • Future Networks;
    • Remote and regional customers;
    • Ageing Assets;
    • The COVID-19 response; and
    • SA Power Networks being a leader in protecting the most vulnerable in our community.

    But opportunities and challenges are everywhere. The Electricity Trilemma of Affordability, Reliability and Sustainability is far from solved.

    So where do we want to be in five years’ time? And what role should SA Power Networks play?

    How can consumers shape the delivery of these current initiatives and influence the priorities for the period 2025-30? Will we be setting up solar and battery microgrids rather than having electricity poles and wires stretching out across the state? Will we be charging our electric cars at home or catching electric buses? How will we heat our water? How will we get the cheapest power around (solar) to those with the least capacity to pay their bills?

    We encourage everyone in South Australia to feel they can make a difference too and to connect with us and the business via the Talking Power website, SA Power Networks website, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

    Dr Andrew Nance, Chair of SA Power Network’s Customer Consultative Panel

  • Community Reference Group

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    13 July, 2020
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    There are a number of ways energy companies can support vulnerable customers and SA Power Networks is committed to working with our Community Reference Group to understand customer needs and ensure the customer voice is considered and heard in our decision-making.

    Our Community Reference Group provides a forum for listening and discussion on issues facing particular groups within the community, particularly vulnerable customers.

    Wendy Shirley, CEO South Australian Financial Counsellors Association and Chair of our Community Reference Group says:

    “I have been on the Customer Consultative Panel and the Community Reference Group since its inception. I have worked with SA Power Networks for over 5 years’ and have a high level of interest around electricity distribution in SA. Collaboration and working together in partnership to help all customers will assist in ensuring SA Power Networks remains in tune with all of their customers.”

    The group consists of representatives from the following consumer advocacy and customer groups:

    SA Power Networks developed a Vulnerable Customer Strategy in the latter part of 2019, in consultation with our reference group – link to site or strategy

    If you would like more information about the group or to contact any of the members please click here

  • Arborist Reference Group

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    13 July, 2020
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    Arborist Reference Group

    In 2014 an independent group was established to provide horticultural and arboricultural advice on a range of strategic initiatives aimed at improving amenity outcomes and vegetation management near powerlines.

    The group consists of representatives from the following members:

    Since its establishment, the group has worked collaboratively to progress a number of key initiatives to improve vegetation clearance outcomes including:

    • A Protocol for vegetation management near powerlines.
    • Communication with Councils and education on our legislative requirements.
    • A powerline friendly list of species.
    • Changes to the regulations governing vegetation clearance across the State, including pruning around low voltage powerlines and the 10 year review.

    Kelvin Trimper, AM, a founding member of the Arborist Reference Group stated:

    “We have made significant progress but we are continuing to seek improved outcomes for the community and environment for trees under powerlines. One of our latest initiatives is to trial new tree species under powerlines which deliver good visual and environmental amenity whilst reducing the need for regular pruning”.

  • Connections Working Group

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    13 July, 2020

    A Connections Working Group was established in August 2019 to improve customer experience in the connections process.

    The group is working with SA Power Networks on a number of initiatives to improve the connections process, with a focus on education, information provision and ongoing communication.

    The Group comprises representatives from:

    • Renewable and solar industry representatives and consultants
    • Energy consultants
    • Electrical contractors/ NECA / Master Electricians Association
    • State Government
    • SA Power Networks

    The group is chaired by Dr Andrew Nance of The Energy Project.

  • LGA Working Group (vegetation management)

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    13 July, 2020

    A Working Group was established with the Local Government Association (LGA) and representative Councils in November 2013 to develop a long-term strategy for vegetation management and work more collaboratively with local councils.

    The group consists of representatives from the LGA and the following Councils:

    • City of Burnside
    • City of Campbelltown
    • City of Tea Tree Gully
    • Port Augusta City Council
    • Adelaide Hills Council
    • City of Onkaparinga
    • City of Marion
    • Alexandrina Council
  • Public Lighting Working Group

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    13 July, 2020

    In December 2018, a Public Lighting Working Group (PLWG) was established to:

    • Provide a representative group for Councils to work with the LGA and SA Power Networks on public lighting matters.
    • Provide a forum for listening and discussion with Councils on public lighting.
    • Seek input from Councils and stakeholders on the transition from negotiated distribution services to alternative control services.
    • Build mutual understanding and trust between the LGA, SA Power Networks and public lighting customers.
    • Identify new service and product lines which will add value to public lighting customers.
    • Discuss current issues associated with public lighting.


    Membership of PLWG

    Membership includes the following representatives:

    Council representatives

    • Joe Ielasi, City of West Torrens
    • Howard Lacy, City of Holdfast Bay
    • David Baird, Mount Barker District Council
    • Sebastian Carr, City of Port Lincoln
    • Pam Andritsakis, City of Prospect
    • Chris Haskas / Richard Tang, City of Mitcham
    • Andrew Alderson, City of Norwood, Payneham, St Peters
    • Ben Calder / Sal Jarudo, City of Onkaparinga
    • Adam Gray, City of Charles Sturt
    • Nick Serle, City of Mt Gambier
    • Cr Paul Jenner, City of Mt Gambier
    • Cr Kate Amorosi, City of Mt Gambier

    Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure South Australia (DPTI)

    • John Brodie

    Consultants

    • Alexi Lynch, Ironbark

    Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA)

    • Steve Nolis, Executive Director Commercial

    SA Power Networks

    • Alex Lewis, Stakeholder Engagement Lead
    • Debbie Voltz, Regulatory Analyst - Financial
    • Jehad Ali, Asset Services Manager
    • Shane Venning, Manager Operational Asset Management
    • Tom Walker, Manager Commercial

    For more information on this group, please click here

  • DER Integration Working Group

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    13 July, 2020

    This group was established to focus on Distributed Energy Resources Integration and future energy transition.

  • Tariff Working Group

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    13 July, 2020

    This group was established in October 2019 to work with customers on residential and business network tariffs.