INDEPENDENT NEWS

FinCap welcomes move to reduce energy hardship

Published: Thu 3 Oct 2019 12:11 PM
Thursday 3 October 2019
FinCap welcomes the Government's move to reduce energy hardship
FinCap welcomes the Government’s response to the Final Report of the Electricity Price Review process as a "good first step". FinCap supports 200 local financial capability and budgeting services across New Zealand. Collectively these services see 70,000 people a year. We commend the work of the Expert Advisory Panel and encourage all power companies to actively address the needs of vulnerable consumers and consumers in financial hardship.
Tim Barnett, Chief Executive of FinCap, said today: "Energy hardship is one of the main reasons people come to see our services. This is experienced as being behind on payments, having your power disconnected, cold and damp homes and preventable illnesses. $35 million of the $700 million debt held by our clients result from utility bills. Often this debt, impacts on a person’s credit rating and goes to debt collection agencies, causing further distress to families."
"We want affordable power prices and products that are designed for people on low incomes and people at risk of financial hardship. This will have a direct result on the wellbeing of families in New Zealand. There is a way to go to get there, but the Government has moved in the right direction with their positive response to the Electricity Price Review."
"We welcome the focus on the need for the consumer voice to be heard. This is particularly important for vulnerable consumers who may not individually advocate for themselves to their power company. Power companies need to hear the voices of vulnerable consumers so that they can take meaningful action to reduce energy hardship."
We support the initiatives to reduce energy hardship including:
- the removal of the prompt payment discount. Prompt payment discounts disadvantage people living on low incomes that may not have the cash flow to receive the discounts. We welcome and encourage universal discounts to all customers.
- changes to incentivise bulk power deals for people in the most need.
- a fund to help households in energy hardship become more energy efficient.
- the establishment of a network of community-level support services to help consumers in energy hardship. Three local budgeting services are currently part of the EnergyMates pilot with ERANZ and we look forward to expanding the pilot to new areas.
We support the initiatives to strengthen the consumer voice including:
- the creation of a Consumer Advisory Council and Cross-sector Energy Hardship Group.
- the Electricity Authority being mandated to have a ‘consumer protection’ function.
FinCap are looking forward to monitoring the impact of these changes and will continue to advocate for vulnerable consumers, and consumers experiencing energy hardship.
ENDS

Next in Business, Science, and Tech

Government accounts show strong economy
By: New Zealand Government
OceanaGold cleared to buy land for Waihi tailings expansion
By: BusinessDesk
Fletcher sued for $7.5m over Christchurch justice precinct
By: BusinessDesk
PHARMAC signs bundle deal for more cancer medicines
By: PHARMAC
Government levels electricity playing field for consumers
By: New Zealand Government
NZ dollar rises on better-than-expected govt surplus
By: BusinessDesk
Rail revaluation bolsters Crown 2019 accounts
By: BusinessDesk
Shane Jones' PGF quietly made tax-exempt
By: BusinessDesk
Robertson’s pockets bulge as everyday Kiwis struggle
By: New Zealand National Party
DHB deficits out of control, health services at risk
By: New Zealand National Party
Green Party responds to Government surplus announcement
By: Green Party
Nearly $2 of every $5 swallowed by the Government
By: ACT New Zealand
NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes Government's education spending sig
By: NZEI
Give the money back, Grant
By: New Zealand Taxpayers' Union
Surplus should be spent on housing, health and services
By: Public Service Association
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media