Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Energy programme powers up 17 more community projects

Energy and Resources Minister, Megan Woods, has announced $1.7 million for a further 17 community projects to help households to maximise their homes’ energy efficiency and save on power bills.

The Government’s Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme funds community organisations to deliver personalised energy education through in-home visits and via video calls, and to larger groups through hui and workshops.

“For example Sustain & Enable’s project will support people with disabilities and seniors who live rurally and in small towns,” said Minister Woods.

“Households will receive energy assessments and advice online and follow-up calls to measure progress. A range of energy-saving devices will also be supplied to maximise energy efficiency gains and further lower power bills.”

She said the projects teach people about power use, talk through power bills and plans, and provide information on how they can heat their homes more efficiently. Some projects provide minor house repairs and help households access other services like curtain banks. For example, the WISE Charitable Trust, which runs a successful programme helping households in Taranaki, is supported by its home repair team who undertake minor repairs and remediation work on poor quality houses. The Trust also conducts interactive educational presentations through community workshops.

“The majority of the organisations receiving this new funding are building on earlier success by expanding their projects into new areas, targeting new communities or providing follow-up support. For example the project run by the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Hamilton focuses on Māori, Pasifika, migrant households and low-income whānau in the city and North Waikato,” the Minister said.

“It’s partnering with other local organisations and iwi to provide its energy education programme, which includes training up home energy assessors who can work with households, providing information and practical advice, supply free LED lightbulbs and connect them with other local support services.”

She said the Government’s SEEC Programme had already helped more than 13,000 households save on power bills by teaching them how to be smart power users and providing cost-saving equipment like LED lightbulbs.

Changes to household energy use through LEDs, turning off second fridges or other actions can each save households about $200 a year.

There is a further $2.95 million available in 2023/24. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will evaluate all funded programmes next year and use findings to shape the delivery of future SEEC Programme funding.

The SEEC Programme is one of a number of initiatives that contribute to the Government’s broader and longer-term strategy to alleviate energy hardship in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Round 3 projects being funded are:

‘Affordable Energy for All LED Programme’, Society of St Vincent de Paul – Hamilton Area Council, $90,000
Training home assessors and connecting with other support services to provide energy education and LED lightbulbs, focusing on Māori, Pasifika, migrants and low-income whānau in Hamilton and North Waikato.

‘Auckland Council Home Energy Saver Pilot’, Ecobulb with Auckland Council, $115,000
Training up to 10 energy assessors to provide local households with personalised energy-saving advice, supply energy-efficient lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads, and connect households to other resources and supporting programmes.

‘BOP 20Degrees and Energy Wellbeing Initiative’, Sustainability Options, $100,000
Working with whānau to develop an action plan towards energy wellbeing, including education on managing energy use, minor home repairs and supplying low-cost items like draught stoppers, blankets and thermometers.

‘Building Energy Poverty Resilience in Ethnic Communities’, NZ Fiji Families Wellbeing Trust, $100,000
Working with migrant and refugee organisations to identify households in need across Auckland and further afield and provide energy education through in-home visits and online assessments and low-cost items such as timers and hygrometers to further enable households to make energy-efficiency gains and savings.

‘Christchurch Home Energy Saver Pilot’, Ecobulb with Christchurch City Council and Orion New Zealand, $115,000

Training up to 10 energy assessors to provide local households with personalised energy-saving advice, supply energy-efficient lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads, and connect households to other resources and supporting programmes.

‘Counties Manukau Home Energy Saver Pilot’, Ecobulb with Counties Energy Trust and Counties Energy, $115,000
Training up to 10 energy assessors to provide local households with personalised energy-saving advice, supply energy-efficient lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads, and connect households to other resources and supporting programmes.

‘Eastern Bay of Plenty – warm homes, low energy costs’, Sustainability Options, $125,000
Working with whānau to develop a journey towards energy wellbeing through minor home repairs, energy education and educational workshops for Eastern Bay of Plenty whānau in need.

‘EnergyMate’, Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand (ERANZ), $70,000

Expanding the successful EnergyMate energy coaching initiative to Hawke’s Bay and Central Otago. EnergyMate helps households be more energy efficient, access other support services and provides energy-saving items.

‘Healthy Homes Programme including Winter Warmer Packs – Auckland and Tai Tokerau’, Habitat for Humanity – Northern Region, $85,000

Running workshops to upskill partner organisations providing energy education advice to households in need, and delivering Winter Warmer Packs that contain essential items such as blankets, hygrometers and energy-efficient heaters.

‘Hokianga Energy Wellbeing Strategy & Energy Wellbeing Action Plan 2022–2025’, Hokianga Housing Resilience Collective Charitable Trust, $85,000
Training ‘Energy Champs’ to provide energy education in Hokianga households and through community events and delivering essential goods for keeping the home warm and energy efficient. Funding will also be used to conduct housing assessments and recommend energy-efficiency strategies.

‘Home Energy Education Programme Extension’, Northpower, $115,000
Extending its successful energy education programme to provide targeted, practical energy-saving advice and devices to households across the Whangārei and Kaipara districts.

‘Home Performance Assessments & Warmer Homes and Illness Prevention Installation Team’, WISE Charitable Trust, $110,000
Providing low-income Taranaki whānau with energy advice, undertaking minor repairs to make homes warmer, drier and healthier , and holding interactive educational presentations through community workshops.

‘Love Your Home’, Community Energy Action, $90,000

Providing free Home Energy Checks and personalised energy advice to households in Christchurch, the wider Canterbury region and the West Coast. Further households will be reached through energy education community sessions. 

‘Reducing Energy Poverty Amongst the Elderly and Disabled in Rural New Zealand’, Sustain & Enable, $110,000

Holding online energy assessments and follow-up support for elderly and households with people with disabilities in rural areas and small towns, and supplying energy-saving devices.  

‘Toastie – The Power to Do Good (Home Energy Checks), Sustainability Trust, $100,000
Delivering home energy checks to low-income Toast Electric customers in the Wellington region and Horowhenua, including advice to improve energy efficiency and free low-cost items such as heaters and energy monitors.

‘Warm for Winter’, EA Networks, $60,000

Working with community agencies in the Ashburton district to provide in-home energy assessments, education and items to help keep warm in winter. More households will be reached through community drop-in information events.

‘Whanganui Home Energy Saver Pilot’, Ecobulb with Whanganui District Council, $115,000
Training up to 10 energy assessors to provide local households with personalised energy-saving advice, supply energy-efficient lightbulbs and low-flow showerheads, and connect households to other resources and supporting programmes.

For more information, visit www.mbie.govt.nz/seec.

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