The 2019-20 Budget has provided $5.6 million over five years to implement a package of measures aimed at improving service delivery and realising operational efficiencies across the entire RAES scheme.
The 3-stage process to ensure the future sustainability of the RAES scheme incorporates:
- The installation of Smart Meters to improve energy efficiency and service delivery.
- The introduction of more flexible payment options, including the development of a customer pre-payment framework, to reduce the level of customer indebtedness.
- The staged introduction of electricity charging for residents in the Aṉangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, Oak Valley and Yalata.
Installation of smart meters
The installation of smart meters for customers in townships within the RAES scheme commenced in July 2020. Meter installations for Aboriginal Communities commenced in the first half of 2021, in conjunction with an education package. Smart metering will enable a range of flexible payment options to be considered, including pre‑payment, which will assist customers to manage their electricity bills and consumption. These are being developed in consultation with the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA), to ensure consistency with its regulatory and licencing requirements.
Introduction of tariffs
Tariffs for residential customers in community housing in the APY lands, Oak Valley and Yalata will be phased in from July 2022, starting at a low level to provide time to adjust to the changes. MoneyMob Talkabout, a specialist non-government organisation with experience in delivering similar programs in remote Aboriginal communities, has been engaged to develop and implement a community education and engagement program.
The program will be required to consider the welfare impacts on the affected communities and to engage local Aboriginal community members to act as Energy Education Workers, to assist residents in understanding the new payment system and manage their electricity consumption during the staged introduction of charging.
The Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, along with other State and Federal Departments with a presence on Aboriginal Lands, have been consulted in the development of the program and will be consulted throughout its delivery. All communities in the APY Lands, Oak Valley and Yalata, will also be consulted throughout the program, along with other key stakeholders such as social services groups.