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Low-income households lead power saving, at a cost

1 JUNE 2018

* CSU research finds low-income households leading Albury community, using 70 per cent less electricity.* Low-income households suffer in health and well-being being unable to afford higher electricity costs, making heating and cooling homes a real problem. * ‘Powering Down’ project sharing hints and tips from project on World Environment Day (5 June).Charles Sturt University (CSU) researchers have found that low-income earners lead the Albury community in power saving, but at a cost.“Some low-income households are using 70 per cent less electricity than similar households in Albury. But they are using far less power than they need out of financial necessity,” said social researcher Dr Helen Masterman-Smith, who led the ‘Powering Down’ project based in the northern suburbs of Albury.“High electricity costs are making heating and cooling homes a real problem, especially for those with health conditions.“Some people are spending winter days in bed and summers taking repeated cold showers or baths. As a result, their wellbeing and quality of life are suffering,” Dr Masterman-Smith said.Funded by NSW Environmental Trust, the Powering Down project has supported low-income households to live better using less electricity. Residents have shared their knowledge and tips on reducing electricity use and have received help with the upfront costs of energy efficient appliances.“Project participants have much wisdom to convey on striking a balance between living well and powering down for the planet and the hip pocket,” Dr Masterman-Smith said.“For example, one resident tried the little-known hack of placing bubble-wrap on her north facing windows. It’s a cheap and easy form of double glazing. She ended up being one of our energy efficiency competition winners.”To provide further assistance for low-income households in Albury, the project team will hold a free ‘Bring Your Electricity Bills’ day on World Environment Day, Tuesday 5 June, running from 9am to 3pm, at the Salvation Army Hall, corner of Union Road and Corella St, Lavington.The event is supported by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Albury City Council, the Salvation Army and the Global Village Co-op.“Friendly staff will be on hand to discuss energy assistance vouchers, no-interest loans, hardship programs, service complaints, financial counselling, affordable efficient appliances, independent advice on suppliers, efficiency tips, and much more,” Dr Masterman-Smith concluded.

Media contact:

Wes Ward, 0417 125 795

Media Note:

Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews and pictures with Dr Helen Masterman-Smith and Dr John Rafferty before and during the ‘Bring Your Electricity Bills’ day (on World Environment Day on Tuesday 5 June).

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