Consultation is now open on Evoenergy’s draft plan for the 2021–26 gas network access arrangement before the final plan is submitted to the Australian Energy Regulator on 30 June 2020. The draft plan proposes stable gas network prices while further work is undertaken on the complex challenge of meeting the ACT Government’s zero net emissions target by 2045.
Evoenergy Acting General Manager Fiona Wright says although Evoenergy has decades of experience in network and regulatory planning, developing the gas network access arrangement plan for the coming five year period is particularly challenging.
“In this planning period we’ve looked closely at the ACT Government's climate change strategy and what it means for how we operate and invest in the gas network in the short term,” said Ms Wright.
“We have nearly 160,000 customers connected to the gas network in the ACT and surrounding regions and we expect that number to continue to grow. We know that the community rely on the gas network for their everyday energy needs including cooking, hot water and space heating.”
“The ACT Government has said it will finalise its transition plan for the gas network by 2024 and until then, we have chosen to limit our investment in network expansion and minimise our forecast expenditure where possible. In 2021–26, we’re focused on providing the cheapest possible gas service without compromising safety and reliability.”
Evoenergy conducted a rigorous engagement program in the development of the draft plan to engage with a broad range of consumers to understand their values and what they want and need from the gas network.
“Through our engagement with the community, we’ve heard that energy sustainability and affordability is front of mind, and that we need to work collaboratively to find the most efficient and cost-effective path to transition away from natural gas,” said Ms Wright.
“Although the gas network charge makes-up only 25 per cent of the average residential gas bill, we know that the cost of energy is an important consideration so we’ve proposed that the gas network charge remains stable in 2021–26.”
“The ACT community has invested in the gas network and it’s clear that we need to work together to examine the options we have to repurpose it—such as a transition to hydrogen or biogas, so we can continue to maximise its potential, maintain customer choice, and keep all options open for the future.”
“We hope the community continues to engage with us on this important topic and we look forward to receiving feedback on the draft plan.”
Consultation on Evoenergy’s draft plan for the gas network access arrangement 2021–26 will be open for five weeks until close of business 2 April 2020. Evoenergy will be hosting drop-in sessions and speaking at local community councils and encourage everyone to attend and have their say. To provide feedback on the draft plan or for more information, visit www.evoenergy.com.au/gas-network-draft-plan.
Every five years, Evoenergy is required to submit to the Australian Energy Regulator how much it plans to spend operating, maintaining and investing in the gas network and how these costs should be recovered from gas consumers. The final plan for the gas network access arrangement 2021–26 must be submitted by Evoenergy to the Australian Energy Regulator by 30 June 2020 for a decision ahead of the commencement of the next regulatory period on 1 July 2021.
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