BusinessNZ Energy Council

Energy hardship and the energy sector (in-person)

May 26, 2021

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Energy hardship and the energy sector (in-person)

Mana Wāhine and YEPN are co-hosting a panel on the role of the energy sector – those who send the bills – in addressing energy hardship.

About this event

The struggle to keep up with household bills is a big financial burden on some of our most vulnerable communities – and something that COVID has exacerbated, with one in four households reporting being in arrears on at least one utilities payment in research undertaken just after the Level 4 lockdown.

This group of households included people from all walks of life across Aotearoa, but those over-represented, compared to their proportion in the population, were:

  • aged 35 to 54 (prime years of the working life)
  • Māori (22 per cent of this group) and Pacific Peoples (8 per cent of this group)
  • households in rented accommodation (50 per cent of this group)
  • sole parents and single people with no children

Even before COVID, around 1/3rd of New Zealanders were prepared to put up with being cold to keep costs down.

The stats are tough, and they’re not just about bills and whether they’re paid – they are about societal wellbeing. So what role does the energy sector have to play in addressing energy hardship given we’re the ones setting the policies and sending the bills? How do we tackle the disproportionate impact on communities that are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 unemployment and disruption? How do we link moves to energy hardship with decarbonisation to realise a ‘just’ transition? What overseas examples can we learn from? Come hear the perspectives from our panelists:

Kimberley O’Sullivan, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Otago Department of Public Health.

Miranda Struthers, Accessible Energy Advocate with the Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand (ERANZ).

Jake Lilley, Policy Advisor at FinCap.

Helen Tua, Manager Community Relations at Mercury.

These are the topics we will discuss at the Mana Wāhine in collaboration with Young Energy Professionals Network in-person panel on energy hardship, hosted at Transpower.

All welcome.

Drinks and nibbles sponsored by Transpower.

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