Ausgrid Voices of Community Panel – First Face-to-Face Day at Rydges World Square

Gonzo and Rizzo saying I'm here to tell the story and Rozzo saying and I am here for the food

Over the last couple of months I’ve been participating in a panel for Ausgrid, the local energy distributor, working with 60 other customers across Sydney, Central Coast and the Hunter to feed into their next big plan. We had several evening sessions and one full day online before today, but Saturday was the first face to face session. As it was down in Sydney, Hunter participants received an extra $100 gift card thank you, on top of the $1000 payment we will get at the completion of the program in June.

Our task Ausgrid manages the poles and wires in your community. The energy industry is at a critical point, with a growing focus on a low carbon future and more extreme weather impacting the grid. Alongside that, customer needs and aspirations are rapidly changing. How we understand and respond to these issues has important implications for electricity bills and the reliability of electricity supply. How should Ausgrid look to the future while being fair to customers today?

Got up at 5am and caught an early train down the Central… been forever since I’ve done that long trip! Unfortunately, I lost my concession opal card a few weeks back and the replacement hasn’t arrived, so it was tapping on with my keycard for full fare. I still really don’t like three newer trains with the blue seats, and sadly didn’t get the old more comfortable purple seat train either way. One day the even newer trains will be in service and I’ll get to complain about the seats not being able to change direction.

a aoman with purple hair and glasses, wearing and pink mask and purple tank top
Andy Giraffe Romper from Rainbows and Fairies

An uneventful trip down, Sydney greeted me with what they’re know for best at the moment -rain! It was a dash up Pitt street without the umbrella I forgot to bring, and straight to the urn of coffee after registration. I’ve recently worked out that the reason I feel sick after two coffees is the milk and not the coffee or caffeine, so a low milk coffee link urn or instant with a splash of milk can be consumed repeatedly over the course of a conference or meeting day like this one.

sydney station outside on a rainy day

I swear I’m not just there for the food like Rizzo the rat, but a decent spread was put on and that’s what we’re at least making this post for! Gotta keep us fuelled up and thinking!

mini muffins

vege mud cakes

Morning tea was muffin time – blueberry, choc chip, and citrus and poppy seed muffins for the crown, and some vegan chocolate mud cakes for those with dietary restrictions. I tried them all – even the mud cake at the end of morning tea when they were going untouched. The mini-muffins were generic enough, and I stashed a couple to eat on the train home. The icing on the mud cake disappeared into my tongue somehow! It was VERY noisy in the lobby and the conference room, so I did some disappearing acts during the breaks to recharge.

buffet lunch

a plate of lunch and an apple juice

Lunch was a buffet – roast lam and vegetables, chicken curry and rice, salads, bread rolls, and desserts. There was a cheese option too, and apple juice, water, tea and coffee. I ate my lunch alone, then went to be social with some of the others with my petit fours and mug of tea. I nearly recruited someone to man a booth on election day, but she declined for her own sanity, and I don’t blame her!

The afternoon, while short was also long, and felt like it was dragging. I think it was because we’d been going over the same topics and points all day, trying to nut them out to be able to take them back to “the stakeholders” for feedback. There’s only so many times I can hear the same comments about an issue that’s really not that relevant but is super important to someone before rolling my eyes and wishing myself out of the room. They did have these plush cubes that had microphones to throw around so we could hear the speakers which was kinda cool, and super helpful especially with some people wearing masks.

The party pies were a surprise for afternoon tea, but strangely hit the spot with the grey old world outside looking like I didn’t want to go back into it.

I stared out over the lanterns at afternoon tea, regathering my self to face other humans for just one more session. Honestly, I didn’t contribute too much in the finally session, I was so done, and I somehow ended up on a table talking about fault reporting and tried to be useful and care. One strategy I did find myself using though the day was putting my hand up early to contribute so I knew I’d participated in a session and didn’t get lost in all the noise. It seemed to work for me.

We finished on time and scurried to the station for the 5.18 train. That was peaceful enough until Woy Woy when pre-loading teens got on to head into Newcastle for clubbing. They were so loud and reeking of cheap premixes, but good for them for, hey?

What do you like about conference type meals? I’m glad we got a sit-down lunch rather than stand up sandwiches and wraps, so that was a pleasant change!