Government spends $17m in bid to cut household electricity bills


Millions of dollars of state funding is being aimed at reducing household electricity bills.

The impact of Covid-19 is likely to increase the number of people struggling with their household budgets, Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said in a statement.

The Government has allocated $17 million for a number of initiatives, including the establishment of cross-sector energy hardship group, and a fund for pilot programmes that will improve energy efficiency for households struggling with their power bill.

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Earlier this year, Woods announced the Government was backing 20 changes to the electricity market, that together amount to the biggest shake-up for the industry in 20 years.

The Government doubled the winter energy payment earlier in 2020.

The Government doubled the winter energy payment earlier in 2020.

The reforms, which include new regulations designed to bolster competition, stem from the Electricity Price Review that the Government ordered last year.

“Pilot programmes will be developed to improve the consistency and reach of assistance to people experiencing energy hardship.

“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.”

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said Covid-19 is likely to increase the number of people struggling with their household budgets.

Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods said Covid-19 is likely to increase the number of people struggling with their household budgets.

These initiatives follow the doubling of the winter energy payment.

The payment runs from May 1 until October 1, and is available to superannuitants, those on the veteran’s pension and other beneficiaries.

Other initiatives include 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.”

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