AusNet launches $10 million Energy Resilience Community Fund

28 February 2024

AusNet today announced a $10 million Energy Resilience Community Fund (Community Fund) with a focus on supporting local recovery efforts and enhancing energy resilience in communities severely impacted by recent catastrophic storms and other electricity reliability challenges.

The Community Fund, which is in addition to the guaranteed service level payment and prolonged power outage payments already being provided, will function in close collaboration with relevant local councils to ensure its effective and appropriate administration.

“AusNet is committed to helping communities get back on their feet in the short term, but we also recognise the importance of working with local governments and their communities to strengthen community infrastructure and businesses and help ensure they are better prepared to withstand future weather events,” AusNet Chief Executive Officer, David Smales, said.

“The recent storms caused unprecedented damage to local electrical infrastructure which unfortunately resulted in prolonged outages.

“And it is predicted these weather events are becoming more frequent and severe. In fact, this was the third catastrophic storm to affect some of these communities in as many years.”

These urgent efforts are in addition to longer-term investments AusNet will make on its electricity infrastructure to enhance its ability to withstand increased weather events due to climate change. We are working with the applicable regulators as part of our next price review to target investments.

Mr Smales said the Community Fund was recognition of the urgent need to support communities now and into the future and would focus on three key areas:

  • Immediate support: The Community Fund will provide immediate support to boost local recovery efforts and assist small businesses most impacted by the power outages who are not eligible for other payments. AusNet has already provided funding to local food relief charities in affected communities to boost their capacity to feed locals who may have needed to dispose of frozen and refrigerated food during the prolonged power outage.
  • Community infrastructure and resilience: The Community Fund will collaborate with local governments to support and enhance existing community facilities that are used during and after extreme weather events so communities can access essential supplies, information, and services. This will build on work already being done as part of the Community Microgrids and Sustainable Energy Program and the Energy Resilience Systems program.
  • Small business energy resilience: The Community Fund will consult with local businesses to determine their specific needs, offering support such as education and facilitation of solar and storage solutions to aid in business continuity and other initiatives aimed at fostering recovery.

"AusNet acknowledges the remarkable resilience and community spirit demonstrated in the face of adversity. We stand with the communities we serve, offering our support as they rebuild and recover,” added Mr Smales.

AusNet will collaborate closely with relevant local governments to finalise application and funding guidelines and ensure the effective management of the Community Fund.

To register your interest to receive further information and updates on the Energy Resilience Community Fund, please email