First community-owned retailer goes into administration due to ‘diabolical’ energy crisis


In a sad day for Australia, Byron Bay based Enova Community Energy and its retail energy arm Enova Energy were on Tuesday appointed administrators. 

Australia’s first community-owned renewable energy retailer, Enova launched its retail arm in 2016 and grew to service 13,200 customers across NSW and southeast Queensland, winning numerous awards along the way.

It will now be closing its doors, victim to the chaos in Australia’s energy market which saw the market operator, AEMO, take the drastic step of suspending the operation of the wholesale spot market in the National Electricity Market (NEM) last week.

“The market is broken and does not support small retailers,” Enova chief executive Felicity Stening said in a statement on Tuesday.

“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.”

“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.”

Enova focused on renewable energy and social equity, helping communities gain energy independence by sourcing electricity through customers solar panels. It reinvested half of its profits into community-owned renewable projects and services to improve energy literacy.

Greenpeace lamented the loss of Enova from the market, noting that the company tied for first place in its Australia Pacific 2022 Green Electricity Guide.

“News that Enova Energy has entered into voluntary administration is a damning indictment of the greed of the coal and gas power generators which are at the heart of the energy crisis that is hurting Australian households and businesses,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific senior campaigner, Glenn Walker, said.

“These anti-competitive and morally repugnant fossil fuel companies are reducing consumer choice and driving up prices, all in the pursuit of short-term profit. They are acting to hold Australia’s energy transition hostage, gaming the market and risking driving renewable energy-focused companies out of the market.

“Instead of forcing companies like Enova into administration, fossil fuel companies should be learning from them, responding to consumer demand and accelerating the energy transition.

“With AEMO’s intervention due to end, it will be a test whether the fossil fuel giants have learned their lesson and will put Australians before profit.

Cathro Partners has been appointed to manage the administration process for Enova, according to an ASIC notice issued Tuesday.

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