Education program to help alleviate power bill stress

An energy education program for Housing Plus tenants in Mudgee, Orange and Bathurst has been launched to help relieve power bill stress.

The program aims to alleviate energy poverty that many low-income tenants experience by inducing behavioural change, delivering low cost and no cost measures to improve energy efficiency in the home, and reducing energy costs.

Justin Cantelo, from Housing Plus, said many low-income households are experiencing, or at risk of, energy poverty through rising energy costs.

“These households spend a larger proportion of their income on energy bills than other households, particularly larger families, causing significant stress,” he said.

“As well as over consumption, we also see vulnerable and low-income households that choose to ration their energy use, with some avoiding heating and cooling their homes altogether to avoid unaffordable energy costs.

“This can impact enormously on health conditions.”

The new energy education program aims to assist vulnerable tenants to achieve greater energy literacy and to better access energy concessions, including those made available by the NSW Government through its Home Energy Action Program.

Four easy-to-understand fact sheets are available for tenants:

  • Fact Sheet 1: Manage your usage by watching your meter & bill.
  • Fact Sheet 2: Negotiate the best deal with your energy provider.
  • Fact Sheet 3: Cheap ways to make your home more energy efficient. 
  • Fact Sheet 4: Replace your old appliances with energy efficient ones.

“We know there is an abundance of information on how to reduce energy usage in the home but accessing and understanding this information can be difficult for low-income households, particularly when there are so many different sources and there is often conflicting advice on the market,” Justin said.

“These fact sheets will help our tenants make sense of all this information and will be available from our three branch offices in Mudgee, Orange and Bathurst, as well as on our website.”

“Staff from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage have also visited our offices to train our tenancy relations officers and property inspectors on how to deliver energy efficiency information to tenants during home visits.”

The energy education program is funded by a $10,000 grant from Spark Tank, a community competition administered by Skillset with funding provided by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

In March 2017, Spark Tank awarded $60,000 in funding to energy saving initiatives across the Central West. 

The energy education program is part of Housing Plus’ long-term strategy to address energy poverty among tenants, which includes the installation of state-of-the-art split systems in tenanted homes to replace inefficient heaters, and draft proofing. This is being carried out with co-funding from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage under the Home Energy Action Program. Housing Plus is also in discussions with Kenjarhy Solar to install solar PV panels on some of its properties to achieve greater environmental impact and economic outcomes for tenants.


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