21st June 2022
The Enova Community Energy Board is very disappointed to announce today that Enova Community Energy and Enova Energy, its retail electricity arm, have been placed into voluntary administration this morning. Cathro Partners has been appointed to manage the administration process.
There has been significant media attention to the energy crisis in recent weeks and, due to the prevailing market conditions, Enova has not been able to secure suitable wholesale energy price hedging following the agreement with Diamond Energy ending. Combined with a cap imposed on customer pricing, this has led to the business no longer being financially viable. The Enova Board and leadership team have worked tirelessly during this period to explore all options to secure the continuation of the business, with voluntary administration being the last resort to prevent trading while insolvent.
Felicity Stening, Enova’s Managing Director and CEO shared, "the current diabolical state of the energy market, combined with the high wholesale market energy prices and the cap on customer pricing, has made it impossible for Enova Energy and many other small retailers to operate in the market. The market is broken and does not support small retailers. In addition, the constant raft of State and Federal Government regulatory changes is adding to the market complexities and have caused Enova delays in being able to fund and resource energy innovation. We are very supportive of the Labor Government’s fast action and current review of the energy markets. However, there needs to be greater emphasis on the plight of retailers.
“I have been privileged over the last four and a half years to lead a passionate and capable team to grow our movement from 3,500 customers in one regional network, to servicing 13,200 customers across all of New South Wales and South-East Queensland,” she continued. “Enova’s incredibly hard-working Board and team have constantly demonstrated dedication, resilience, tenacity, collaboration, and strength whilst we’ve navigated some heavy storms over the last few years including bushfires, Covid-19, the 2021 wholesale energy market crisis, the recent Northern NSW floods and the current wholesale energy market crisis. Again, I am privileged and humbled to have served as CEO and Managing Director of such a highly regarded and much-loved community organisation.”
Retail energy is a complex and difficult market for smaller organisations to operate in. However, small and medium retailers provide a much-needed alternative to the big players to maintain competition and ensure consumers have choice. Since its inception, Enova has found customers that are not just looking for a competitive price but are also seeking organisations that employ locally based teams, are renewables-focussed, community minded and Australian owned. Already several smaller market participants have had to exit the market and many more retailers have withdrawn offers from the market and advised existing customers to seek out a new energy provider.
John Taberner, Chair of the Enova Community Energy, advised that “the energy crisis is a matter of national significance that requires the urgent attention of government and regulators”. John explains that “the Enova Board’s decision to enter voluntary administration has not been taken lightly and comes as a result of the organisation being extremely challenged in recent months by external factors, specifically the previously unseen activity on the wholesale energy market including severe and sustained wholesale electricity pricing. On behalf of the Enova Board and team, I would like to thank our shareholders, customer and lenders that have been an integral part of the Enova journey and who we know will continue to champion the need for a rapid transition to a much-needed distributed renewable electricity model in Australia.”
About Enova Community Energy
Based in Byron Bay, Enova Community Energy was Australia’s first community-owned electricity retailer. It was set up a social enterprise, built from the ground up by the people, for the people, and with a vision to enable community-owned distributed renewable electricity generation and supply and to keep money circulating locally. Enova came to life with the support of more than 1,600 like-minded Australian community shareholders and was committed to giving half of its profits back to the community via its not-for-profit arm.
Enova is the number one green retailer in the country in 2022, after being named first and ranked 5 stars in the Green Electricity Guide by Greenpeace, ranked second by CHOICE for customer service and environmental sustainability, winning Canstar’s Green Excellence Award and named by Finder as Retailer of the Year.
In its six years, Enova is proud to have delivered the North Coast Community Housing Solar Garden in partnership with NCCH, COREM and Splendour in the Grass; to have led the Byron Bay Arts & Industry Estate Microgrid pilot project in collaboration with Essential Energy, LO3 Energy, Wattwatchers and the University of NSW; and more recently to have collaborated with the Good Car Co on a community bulk-buy resulting in the purchase of around 40 electric vehicles by Northern NSW residents.
Through the generosity of customers and supported, Enova has been able to donate over $180,000 to community organisations. Enova’s not-for-profit arm, Enova Community, will remain in operation and continue to support community organisations via energy efficiency, education, and community projects.
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