Energy hardship in our community
Energy hardship occurs when individuals, households, and whānau are unable to obtain adequate energy services to support their well-being in their home.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s ‘Report on energy hardship measures – year ending June 2022′ found that more than 110,000 Kiwi homes were unable to keep their homes adequately warm, that 100,000 households ‘put up with feeling cold a lot to keep costs down,’ and that 74,000 Kiwi homes experienced major problems with damp and/or mould, amongst other distressing findings.
Research has shown that those experiencing energy hardship are also more likely to experience negative physical and mental health outcomes than those with ‘energy well-being’ (defined as when individuals, households, and whānau are able to obtain and afford adequate energy services to support their well-being in their home or kāinga), which is why tackling energy hardship within our community is at the heart of our social responsibility.
Counties Energy supports energy hardship and warming up local homes through part-funding EECA’s (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) Warmer Kiwi Homes programme. The programme, aimed at making homes warmer, drier, and healthier, offers free insulation to low-income, owner-occupied homes.
Well-insulated homes cost far less to heat and make a large difference to the temperature inside a home.
Since 2020, around 150 homes in Pukekohe, Waiuku, Tuakau, Port Waikato, Drury and southern Papakura have been insulated as part of the initiative. South Auckland company GreenSide Energy Solutions deliver the programme on behalf of EECA.
Please click on the button below to find out more about this programme, the criteria or to register.
The Counties Energy Home Energy Saver programme saw local, trained energy assessors working with communities to deliver $421,000 in annual energy savings.
From late 2022 and into 2023, 600 households from Papakura to Port Waikato received personalised in-home energy education assessments.
We are grateful to energy-efficient lightbulb producers Ecobulb, who distributed 9,000 Ecobulb LED bulbs to programme participants, and Counties Energy Trust, who also partnered with us on this trial.
This programme also received significant funding from the Government’s Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) programme.
Counties Energy is a proud supporter of the local social services agency Franklin Family Support Services, whom we have partnered with since 2022 on the funding and development of Winter Warmer Packs for local whānau in need. The social agency works directly with our community to ensure the programme can be delivered to those most in need.
In collaboration with the support service, we have been able to deliver a range of essential items that assist families in keeping warm and healthy while reducing their power bills.
This year, the packs delivered consisted of energy-saving eco bulbs, an energy-efficient slow cooker, fresh vegetables donated by local grower Wilcox, soup donated by The Warehouse Pukekohe, and other items to cook warm, hearty meals over winter.
This year, Counties Energy joined the award-winning EnergyMate programme. This initiative provides a free in-home coaching service for whānau at risk of energy hardship.
Franklin Family Support Services is partnering with us on the programme with their FINCAP- registered budget advisors, trained as EnergyMate energy assessors to work within the local community. The assessors take whānau through the programme, show them how to understand their electricity bill, work out the right plan for their personal situation, and offer tips and tools to save power. Each family will also receive a goodie box, including free eco bulbs, to help them reduce their lighting costs.
For more details, as well as tips on saving electricity and how to read your power bill, click here.
EnergyMate is funded by ERANZ members, lines companies like Counties Energy and the Government. The programme has supported more than 1,500 families to date and expanded into 18 locations across Aotearoa New Zealand, since its 2019 inception.