Energy is an essential service. It is essential to people’s daily lives, jobs, health and wellbeing and we generally cannot choose not to consume energy. It is therefore important that the energy market is inclusive of all consumers, does not create or compound harms and barriers to participation, and provides affordable energy.

However, outcomes of consumers experiencing vulnerability have been consistently poor over a long period. This needs to change.

Protecting consumers experiencing vulnerability while enabling consumers to participate in energy markets is the AER’s first objective in its Strategic Plan for 2020–25.

Key strategic aims:

  • improve support for consumers experiencing vulnerability
  • improve the way the market operates to boost consumer outcomes
  • bring a consistent, informed and evidence-based understanding of the lived experience of vulnerability to our work and the energy market
  • prioritise and target actions to address or prevent consumer harm
  • identify ways to safely reduce the costs of addressing vulnerability, share risks across the sector and reduce energy businesses’ costs to serve (and costs for all consumers)
  • identify opportunities to work together, influence or support others to improve consumer outcomes.
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