More initiatives to reduce energy hardship

Source: New Zealand Government

The Government is delivering more initiatives to reduce energy hardship and to give small electricity consumers a voice, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said today.

“In addition to the initiatives we have already delivered to support New Zealand families, we are responding to the Electricity Price Review with further positive moves,” Megan Woods said.

“The impact of COVID-19 is likely to increase the number of people struggling with their household budgets and any measures that help reduce energy costs will be welcome.”

The Government has allocated $17 million to:

  • establish a cross-sector energy hardship group to provide advice and co-ordination for initiatives across Government, industry and the NGO sector to alleviate energy hardship
  • progressively develop a network of community-level services to assist households in energy hardship
  • create a fund for pilot programmes to improve energy efficiency for households in energy hardship
  • support development of an accepted definition and indicators of energy hardship so that programmes can be better targeted and their effectiveness measured
  • form an electricity consumer advocacy council to advocate for small electricity consumers.

This funding allows us to bring together leaders from community organisations, consumer advocates, industry participants and government agencies to ensure energy hardship initiatives are carefully coordinated to maximise their effectiveness,” Megan Woods said.

“Pilot programmes will be developed to improve the consistency and reach of assistance to people experiencing energy hardship. A nationwide network of organisations providing credible, independent, electricity-specific advice and support services for those in need, will be progressively built.

“The electricity consumer advocacy council will give a much-needed voice to households and small businesses who struggle to make their voices heard and exert influence in the electricity sector.

These initiatives follow:

  • the introduction, and subsequent doubling of, the winter energy payment to help over a million New Zealanders heat their homes;
  • the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme to subsidise home insulation and heating, and;
  • the introduction of compulsory ceiling and underfloor insulation in rental accommodation.

“We want all New Zealanders to be able to live in secure, healthy homes and that’s what these initiatives are all about,” Megan Woods said.

The energy hardship group and electricity consumer advocacy council are expected to be up and running later this year.