“The EnergyMate energy hardship coaching service is expanding across New Zealand this winter through a partnership between the electricity retailers, lines companies, Government and community budgeting services,” Electricity Retailers’ Association Chief Executive Cameron Burrows says.
EnergyMate is a free energy coaching service supporting households who struggle to pay their energy bills or keep their homes warm.
“As announced by Hon Dr Megan Woods earlier today, the Government’s SEEC energy hardship fund is contributing $200,000 towards expanding EnergyMate. This, along with funding from industry, will allow the programme to reach more than 1,500 families this year,” Mr Burrows says.
“Through in-home coaching and community hui workshops, ERANZ’s EnergyMate helps whānau and families by engaging them in their energy use, finding the best plan for their needs, educating them to use their appliances efficiently, and helping them heat their home within their budget.
“EnergyMate helps whānau make the most of their electricity. Some can save hundreds of dollars a year just by changing their power plan. Simple steps like putting draught stoppers around windows and doors can make a big difference to energy bills.”
A key element of this expansion is a greater focus on Māori and Pasifika communities, through Whānau Ora and Pasifika services affiliated with FinCap.
“A core strength of EnergyMate is that it is delivered in communities, by community partners. EnergyMate’s primary community partner is FinCap, who through their national network of over 200 budget advisory services are able to connect in with local whānau to provide targeted support.
“Energy hardship is a symptom of wider poverty – someone struggling to pay their power bill is likely also struggling with a low income, education, and, crucially for the winter months, a low-quality house that’s hard to heat.
“Nobody wants to see families or struggling to stay warm in winter. The electricity sector can’t solve this issue alone, but we want to make sure we’re helping where we can – supporting whānau to make the most of their electricity. We’re proud to partner with Government to alleviate energy hardship,” Mr Burrows says.