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Innovation advisory committee

Innovation, whether trialling new technologies or research and development, is key to ensuring greater customer value over the long run in a rapidly changing energy environment. Innovation will be needed to:

  • respond to the rapidly decentralising energy system
  • allow the two-way exchange of electricity and new business models using our network to benefit all customers
  • keep network costs down while adapting to this change, and
  • protect and maintain secure and reliable network services.

 

The value of innovation is widely recognised. With support from our Customer Forum and approval from the Australian Energy Regulator (AER), we have an innovation allowance of $7.5m for the current regulatory period (2022-2026).

The Innovation Advisory Committee (IAC) has been established to ensure that customer perspectives shape the design and prioritisation of our proposed innovation projects.

 

Role of the IAC

The IAC will:

  • provide independent input and feedback to inform the prioritisation and delivery of our innovation programs
  • provide a forum for us to partner and collaborate with consumer advocates and represent customers voices, placing the customer at the centre of investment decisions as we transform the network
  • inform and shape our innovation engagement to ensure we deliver best practice, fit for purpose engagement activities
  • propose additional initiatives for our consideration
  • ensure that innovation plans deliver long-term benefits to all our customers, targeting the benefits outlined in Figure 1.1 below
  • help communicate lessons and outcomes from our innovation projects to the broader industry.

 

 

Image of customer benefits for innovation projects

 

Innovation projects are assessed against the following criteria. Projects must:

  • seek to deliver benefits to customers
  • be driven by customer needs and expectations
  • be understood by customers
  • represent strategic innovation
  • involve collaboration with other partners, including industry and academic
  • be willing to be paid for by customers
  • not be funded under the regulatory framework.

 

IAC Membership

The IAC membership is agreed by AusNet and our Customer Consultative Committee (CCC). Members include industry participants, customer advocates, technical advisors and our representatives. We also have several observers who help to share the impact of our innovation work with similar organisations.

 

IACmembers:

  • Energy and Climate Change Specialists
  • Energy Policy & Research Analysts
  • Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action
  • Brotherhood of St Laurence
  • University of Melbourne
  • Aurecon Group
  • Clean Energy Council
  • United Energy
  • Jemena

 

Innovation fund governance

The $7.5 million of approved innovation expenditure:

  • must be spent on a program of innovation initiatives or projects focussed on meeting the numerous network challenges and opportunities posed by the energy transition, including those related to increased DER take-up
  • will operate under a ‘use it or lose it’ arrangement, which means that at the end of the regulatory period (2022-2026) we will return any unused funds back to customers, and
  • will not be applicable to the Capital Expenditure Sharing Scheme and the Efficiency Benefit Sharing Scheme.

 

We will present to the IAC a proposed program of innovation initiatives for feedback. IAC members are welcome to propose additional initiatives for our consideration; however, we will remain responsible for expenditure decisions. If a planned innovation project is no longer needed – for example, new findings are made elsewhere or there’s a new technological development – we will work with IAC and technical experts to develop alternative innovation projects to the maximum value of $7.5 million in total over 2022- 2026.


Meetings

View the most recent minutes of the meetings below:

June 2022 meeting minutes (PDF, 566 KB)

February 2022 meeting minutes (PDF, 118 KB)

 

Resources

For more information on our innovation projects, see Projects and Innovation.

For more information or questions about the IAC, email engagement@ausnetservices.com.au