Calling householders to Power Down
8 MAY 2017
A project coordinated by Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers is helping local householders in the Lavington and North Albury areas reduce their power costs.Working with Albury City Council and the NSW Environment Trust, the 'Powering Down' program will deliver $15 000 in assistance and advice to lower income families to curb the incidence of power disconnections in these areas.Project leader Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, in CSU's School of Humanities and Social Sciences, said, "Power disconnections in these suburbs are above the national average. An older resident told me that it's too expensive to stay at home these days. She said many people go to shopping centres and public places because of the high cost of heating and cooling."Low-income households have to be the most frugal electricity users, yet they spend a higher proportion of their income on energy costs."According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, lowest income households consume 31 per cent less electricity than the national average. Yet in the same households, energy costs absorb seven per cent of their income compared to the national average of two per cent."The up-front costs of energy efficient appliances or fittings are one part of the problem. They are considered luxuries in many low-income households," Dr Masterman-Smith said.To address these costs, the program will provide the first 50 low-income households who register with Powering Down with energy efficient items worth $300, as well as advice on how to further reduce their bills.Any North Albury and Lavington resident can also compete for the 'Powering Down Cup', which includes large gift vouchers for the 'Biggest Losers and the Lowest Users of Electricity'."We believe that by addressing people's electricity use, we can reduce stress on people's budgets and the environment," Dr Masterman-Smith said.In addition, the project team will commence a household survey in the suburbs to draw a clearer picture of energy security and stress in this community.To participate in the Powering Down project, phone 6040 7813 or visit the Global Village Community Co-operative at 1076 Mate St, North Albury.