Uniting Communities, Inc. (UC) has been actively promoting consumer engagement as the basis for efficient network revenue decisions since the 2012 network regulation rules changes. We  subsequently promoted this consumer engagement through leadership in the Australian Energy Regulator’s “Better Regulation” processes of 2013. These processes developed the first consumer engagement guidelines for utility regulation in Australia.

In 2016 the Energy Networks Australia (ENA) published a Consumer Engagement Handbook, which we have written this publication to sit alongside. We have titled this publication “Community Engagement Handbook” (Handbook) to reflect the growing practice by network businesses to recognise the communities in which consumers live and do business, as well as to recognise the consumers who ultimately pay for network services.

This Handbook follows a workshop conducted with ENA in March 2018. Peter Kenyon of ENA was asked by Uniting Communities to lead the workshop and this Handbook’s development due to his four decades of community engagement experience, none of which included working with network businesses. Kenyon brought an outsiders perspective to the workshop and Handbook development, to help build on the impressive engagement that many network businesses have undertaken over recent years.

There are many ways to engage with consumers and their communities, different approaches suit different circumstances. This Handbook provides summaries of a large number of practical approaches to engagement and in Section 4, page 16 lists the strengths, weaknesses and operational tips for each approach.

This Handbook provides a summary of the variety of techniques and tools available to engagement staff and facilitators to engage community residents in participatory engagement processes that enable their meaningful contribution to opportunities, issues and challenges related to network regulation and policy as well as community life.

See the full Handbook here: Kenyon Engaging Community Practical Techniques and Tools Handbook