Ensuring New Zealanders can get the best deal on their electricity takes a step in the right direction today with the South Island launch of the EnergyMate pilot run by the Electricity Retailers’ Association, says Minister of Energy and Resources, Dr Megan Woods.
EnergyMate is an industry-led programme providing coaching to support vulnerable households manage their electricity needs. It is a collaborative initiative between industry, community and government sectors.
“I am pleased to see the launch of another EnergyMate pilot, a free in-home energy coaching service designed to help families at risk of energy hardship. It is heartening to see the Electricity Retailers’ Association members and partners showing leadership in delivering practical and tangible solutions to energy hardship,” says Megan Woods.
“The causes of energy hardship are complex and varied and can include things like housing quality, income, prices and household energy needs. To make progress and help as many people as possible we need the NGO sector, industry, the regulators and Government to work together. EnergyMate is a good example of industry stepping up to do this.
The Electricity Price Review found too many Kiwi households struggle to pay their power bills. The Review also found that some households struggle to understand the various pricing plans and choose the one that’s best for them. While COVID-19 delayed some of this work but it has resumed again now with joint actions.
A number of initiatives are now underway funded by the Government’s $17 million fund previously announced including developing a network of community-level services to assist households in energy hardship.
The ultimate goal, as recommended by the Review, is a nationwide network of organisations providing credible, independent, electricity-specific advice and support services for those in need. The launch of the new EnergyMate pilot is a welcome initiative that is in line with this key recommendation from the Review.
Other work Government is doing to help those in energy hardship, include the $28 million fund to install solar panels and batteries on public and Māori housing; the doubling of the winter energy payment; the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme; and the introduction of compulsory ceiling and underfloor insulation in rental accommodation. We want all New Zealanders to live in warm, healthy homes – that’s what these initiatives are all about.