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New initiative to combat soaring power bills

Nelson Energy Team Trust


March 19, 2013


Power in numbers. Nelson Energy Team Trust launches new initiative to combat soaring power bills.

Nelson community leaders have banded together to form the Nelson Energy Team Trust, in a bid to combat soaring power bills.

Nelson’s Mayor, Aldo Miccio and Solar City CEO, Andy Booth recognised an opportunity to develop buying pools of residential consumers to secure lower rates from energy suppliers. In a continued spirit of teamwork and collaboration they have brought Nelson professionals Galen King and Alex Reith on board as trustees, for their skills and support.

Nelson Energy Team aims to use collective buying power to negotiate with energy suppliers on the consumer’s behalf, their aim is to bring lower rates to the community. Whilst the trust is based in Nelson, potential registrants for the scheme can reside throughout New Zealand. This type of scheme was pioneered in Holland in 2011, and others have recently been adopted throughout the UK. This is the first community scheme of its kind in New Zealand. Following the success of overseas schemes, indicative savings could be anything from 1% to 20%, but the Nelson Energy Team Trust needs 20,000 potential members to begin negotiations which they hope will lead to significant savings.

Mr Miccio says that he knows from his role as Mayor that besides rates, rents and mortgages, electricity is one of our community’s biggest expenses, “I’ve heard first hand stories from people, particularly the elderly who have no heating through winter, they choose to turn it off and use blankets to save dollars as they are on fixed pensions, it’s a real concern for me and for our trustees.”

Mr Neville Male, president of Greypower says that group members are increasingly concerned about the continued rise in energy costs, “if the Nelson Energy Trust can provide a vehicle that may bring savings to our Nelson community, I feel sure it will gain full support from Greypower members”.

The scheme will be developed in two phases.

• Consumers need to register their interest in joining at www.nelsonenergyteam.org.nz, it’s free to register and there is no commitment. When the pool reaches 20,000 Nelson Energy Team will be in a position to negotiate with New Zealand energy suppliers.

• As soon as a successful deal has been negotiated, consumers are advised of the collective unit prices. They re-visit the Nelson Energy Trust website to test their power usage and current rates against the deal that has been negotiated. It is at this stage they choose whether to opt in to the scheme.

As well as cutting power bills the Nelson Energy Trust aims to set up a fuel poverty fund, “Safety Net”. The goal will be to insulate homes and ensure power efficient heating and mechanisms are in place, the fund will donate annually to those residents who really need help to stay warm. Trustee, Mr Alex Reith, says “It strikes me that energy prices are too high in New Zealand, if we are able to gain a better deal for the consumer, and in doing so accumulate funds for those in need, this has to be a worthwhile initiative.”


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