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MEDIA RELEASE – 30th October 2019

WINconnect – Australia’s largest community energy network provider – has praised the Australian Energy Market Commission’s proposed reforms to the community energy network sector, believing that current legislation leaves gaps that allows for exploitation by operators with little understanding of this burgeoning industry..

 

Tom Patsakos, CEO of WINconnect, said consumers want reliable power, at fair rates, with future-proofed infrastructure that enables feed in solar and access to electric vehicle charging – even if they live in a multi-unit apartment building.  Community energy networks have helped deliver on this by offering the best of both worlds – being on the grid while also offering the benefits of off-grid technology.

 

Mr Patsakos said that the latest customer service statistics from the Energy and Water Ombudsman of Victoria (EWOV) shows that community energy networks are producing satisfied customers.

 

“According to EWOV, community energy networks scored far fewer complaints than conventional energy grid customers. Australia’s largest community energy network provider, WINconnect, scored the best in the community energy sector, receiving less than one complaint per 1,000 customers.

 

“Compare this to Australia’s two biggest energy retailers, who received nearly five complaints per 1,000 customers in the last 12 months,” Mr Patsakos said.

 

But sadly, not everyone in the industry has operated with integrity nor the same ‘customer-centric’ approach. As the ABC’s 7.30 reported this week, some providers have made it hard for consumers to exit the scheme and change providers. The regulatory environment has simply not kept up with the modern requirements of community energy networks and micro grids alike.

 

That is why WINconnect is in favour of the AEMC’s proposed regulatory changes, handed down in June this year. The proposed changes would make it easier for consumers to exercise their right of choice as well as ban practices which are unfair and not in the best interest of residents and owners of Community Energy Networks.

 

Tom Patsakos said that the changes are sensible and will give consumers, owners’ corporations and developers confidence in the community energy sector, allowing them to realise the benefits while knowing customers will be protected.

 

“The proposed changes – which I would like to see enacted by state and federal governments – would bring the industry in line with WINconnect’s current practices, which protect consumers while bringing great cost savings and green benefits,” Mr Patsakos said.

Mr Patsakos believes that by setting out a strong relationship between provider and owners’ corporation, network operators will be forced to offer a deal that benefits consumers for the long term.

 

“Because we run community energy networks on behalf of owners’ corporations, we have no interest in gimmicks. That’s why we led the industry in giving one standard rate to customers – even before there was talk of mandatory default offers,” Mr Patsakos said.

 

-ENDS-

 

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