COTA Australia, thanks to the thoughtful and industrious work of COTA’s Energy Advocates, has submitted its 2021 Disclosure Statements response to the Energy Charter’s Independent Accountability Panel (IAP). Our submission provides the IAP with balanced and constructive feedback on the performance of the 16 energy companies that are signatories to the Energy Charter.
COTA Australia’s submission congratulates the signatories on their progress in bedding down the principles of the Energy Charter. We support that some are now targeting actions that move beyond regulatory obligations or ‘business as usual’.
Overall, we believe the 2021 suite of statements demonstrate a pleasing development in the sector’s appreciation of the various forms of hardship experienced by customers. In addition to signatories demonstrating a more insightful understanding of ‘financial vulnerability’ (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic), many have increased their support for people experiencing domestic and family violence. We ask that in 2022 energy businesses extend this understanding and support to customers experiencing elder abuse.
Like our previous IAP submissions, the current highlights the need for consistent metrics and definitions across statements and a strengthened focus on digital inclusion, vulnerability and environmental sustainability. Plus, in terms of enhancing customer communications, we identify the statements we believe best convey a sincere commitment to reaching out to and informing customers.
Note: The Energy Charter Independent Accountability Panel was established in June 2019. The Panel’s role is to review the annual Energy Charter’s Signatories’ Disclosure Statements against the principles of the Energy Charter.