Merri-bek City Council is saddened about the closure of the Australian Energy Foundation (AEF) formerly known as Merri-bek Energy Foundation Limited (MEFL).
Council established MEFL with the goal of reducing greenhouse emissions across the municipality using proceeds from the forced sale of the former cities of Brunswick and Coburg electricity supply authorities under the Kennett Government in 2000.
Up until 2019, Council contributed significant funding toward MEFL and formerly participated in its governance through the Board.
In 2019, MEFL became an organisation independent of Council and became known as Australian Energy Foundation (AEF) to better reflect the national footprint and impact of the organisation aspired to.
“Merri-bek City Council had a successful partnership with MEFL and more recently AEF over two decades. The organisation has provided advice and support to help thousands of Merri-bek residents and businesses reduce their energy bills and make the switch to clean energy,” Merri-bek Mayor Mark Riley said.
“I’m saddened that the organisation will soon close its doors. Council originally established MEFL to continue our leadership in taking action on climate change and providing innovative energy services for our community. Council was proud of AEF becoming independent of Council 3 years ago and this reflected its local and national reach and impact.
“We are proud of the wonderful programs that its predecessor, MEFL fostered, such as Solar Cities and the development of the Zero Carbon Evolution and the subsequent 2040 framework. MEFL also partnered with Council to deliver Cooling Communities, which won a United Nations Environment Day Award and helped numerous residents and businesses go solar and improve energy efficiency.
“We will continue the organisation’s legacy on climate change action within Council to create a healthy and resilient Merri-bek, including continuation of the Mike Hill Fellowship in this financial year.
“Mike Hill was a community leader and visionary thinker across the environmental sustainability and local government communities around Victoria. It honours Mike’s tremendous contribution to Merri-bek as Councillor, Mayor and resident, and continues his work building local champions for climate change action.”
2022 Mike Hill Fellow, Haritima Bahuguna will join Council to continue to support Merri-bek residents who speak Hindi and Urdu. She will provide energy education and literacy advice, bill reviews to identify better rates and tariffs, applications for bill relief grants, and energy efficiency advice.
Merri-bek City Council extends its sincerest thanks to all MEFL and AEF staff, past and present for their significant contributions to our community. They have played a key role in reducing carbon emissions, saving money and changing the energy sector.