A community hui in Kaitaia this week outlined the benefits of the free energy coaching service EnergyMate, which aims to help whānau heat their homes more efficiently and cut power bills.
EnergyMate has been available in Kaitaia since 2020 and began operating in Te Kao this year through service provider Kai Whetu.
The award-winning programme involves specially trained local energy coaches visiting the homes of eligible whānau – including people who are struggling to pay their power bills or keep their homes warm.
The coaches advise where savings can be made in areas like heating, lighting and hot water, as well as connecting consumers with their power company to make sure they’re on the best plan for their needs.
“It feels good when you go into a home and you can point out some things that are going to make a difference to them in winter,” Kai Whetu organiser Maria Wiki said.
“We’ve even had the odd person who’s saved quite a chunk of money by following our advice.”
Kai Whetu is delivering EnergyMate in partnership with electricity retailers and lines company Top Energy, which also supports EnergyMate in Kaitaia through the Kaitaia Family Budgeting Service.
Top Energy Chief Executive Russell Shaw says that partnering with EnergyMate is a tremendous privilege for the company.
“We recognize the immense value that in-home coaching brings to our community in the Far North.”
Kaitaia Family Budgeting Service’s Tania Sneddon organised Monday’s hui at Te Rarawa, where EnergyMate coaches including Maria shared information to help people get the most out of their power.
The Electricity Retailers’ Association (ERANZ), which coordinates EnergyMate, said expanding the service into Te Kao meant it was now available in 18 locations nationwide.
“EnergyMate is all about local coaches helping deliver better energy outcomes in their community, that’s why we’re delighted to work with Kai Whetu in Te Kao,” ERANZ chief executive Bridget Abernethy said.
"We want all whānau to live in warm, dry homes with affordable energy costs,"
For more details, as well as tips on saving electricity and how to read your power bill, go to www.energymate.nz