Support for Energy Education in Communities Programme

The Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme is part of a suite of government initiatives to lift people out of energy hardship.

The SEEC Programme has been established to deliver community-level energy education to help households in need.

The Programme is part of a $17 million 4-year package from the Government’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, announced in August 2020 to reduce energy hardship and strengthen the consumer voice. 

The SEEC Programme includes funding to build and expand the network of services to support people experiencing energy hardship achieve warmer, more energy-efficient homes and lower their energy bills.

Funding is available to eligible community-level groups, organisations or businesses, and will be primarily allocated through a regular open process. The funding is to contribute to the provision of personalised, specialist advice and education to households in energy hardship, and purchasing low-cost energy-saving equipment and devices.

The SEEC Programme complements other initiatives across government, the community and private sector that focus on making homes warmer and more energy efficient. The SEEC Programme consists of the SEEC Fund and the associated SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund.

SEEC Fund

The SEEC Fund is the Programme’s primary funding pool. Eligible groups, businesses and organisations can apply for funding from the SEEC Fund to expand the capacity of existing energy hardship initiatives, pilot a new scheme, or deliver related training. It is not intended to fund existing initiatives or cover start-up costs for the creation of new organisations.

Examples of initiatives that will be considered for the SEEC Fund are:

  • Preparing and delivering education material
  • Hui to provide advice and resources to groups
  • Training community-level advisors
  • Providing personalised advice in-home or over the phone.

SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund

The SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund is the secondary, subsequent funding pool that applicants for the SEEC Fund can also apply for. This fund is to help with the cost of low-cost items, such as LED lights, timing switches, and sensors that support energy efficiency advice provided to households experiencing energy hardship.

Applicants wishing to seek funding from the SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund must do so as part of their application to the SEEC Fund.

Applications seeking funding only from the SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund will not be considered.

A successful application to the SEEC Fund does not mean funding for the SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund will also be granted.

Funded projects

Round 1

A total of $1.26 million was allocated to 9 projects in the first funding round, announced in May 2021.

Support for Energy Education in Communities Programme funding recipients - Round 1

Government gives households extra help to reduce their power bills(external link) — Beehive.govt.nz

Round 2

A total of $1.65 million was allocated to 15 projects in the second funding round, announced in November 2021.

Funding for round 2 focused on pilots that have potential to scale and can be substantially delivered within 12 months.

Priority was given to initiatives that filled gaps in terms of location, type and who the initiative targets, to build on the projects funded in the first round.

Support for Energy Education in Communities Programme funding recipients - Round 2

More energy saving advice to hit home thanks to government funding(external link) — Beehive.govt.nz

Funding Boost

In April 2022, MBIE brought forward $350,000 of SEEC funding to be made available to existing SEEC-funded projects that could be restarted or extended to deliver further energy education and support through autumn and winter 2022.

This was in response to the growing cost of living, which is likely to be exacerbated as winter increases households’ energy needs.

The Funding Boost draws on the opportunity to provide more immediate support to households in need by enabling existing SEEC providers to maintain momentum, using existing staff and delivery capability.

Earlier recipients of SEEC Programme funding were invited to apply for a funding boost to restart or extend their SEEC-funded pilot.

In May 2022, 5 existing SEEC projects were selected to receive a funding boost.

Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme - Funding Boost recipients

Next funding rounds

There is $1.7 million available for the next funding round, expected to open in mid-2022. A further $2.95 million of funding will be allocated in 2023/24.

Eligibility

The SEEC Fund is open to organisations, groups and businesses who can work closely with households experiencing energy hardship or expand their services to do so. Applicants to the SEEC Fund can apply for funding from the SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund at the same time.

Eligible groups can include: community service providers, training organisations, social enterprises, iwi support services, NGOs, businesses, community groups and budget advisory bodies.

Both sucessful and unsuccessful applicants can apply in future funding rounds.

Eligibility criteria

There are 5 key eligibility criteria that must be met to apply for the SEEC Fund and SEEC Equipment and Devices Fund.

Applicants must be:

Trusted – able to provide credible, independent, electricity-specific advice and support services, ideally personalised to the household.

Connected – able to effectively reach eligible households, especially those that are hard to reach and unaware help is available.

Integrated – able to link with other relevant services and, where possible, leverage additional non-government funding.

Initiatives must be:

Targeted – focused on helping households in energy hardship, including renters and owner-occupiers, and involve the account holder where possible.

Measurable – able to be measured and monitored to show results.

Application process

The next funding round is scheduled for mid-2022. If you would like to receive a notification when the next funding opens, please sign up to the Energy Hardship Update e-newsletter on the link below. You can unsubscribe from the e-newsletter at any time.

Energy Hardship Update e-newsletter

If you’re thinking about applying and haven’t applied before, we recommend looking at the lists of previously funded projects above for ideas and types of organisations you could partner with.

The form below gives an indication of the type of information we’re looking for when considering applications.  

We will update this section with details on how to apply ahead of the funding round opening.

Progress reporting

Rounds 1 and 2 projects – 20 March 2022

More information

To receive updates about the SEEC Programme, including information on future funding rounds and other energy hardship initiatives, please sign up to the Energy Hardship Update e-newsletter.

Energy Hardship Update e-newsletter

Related links and resources

MBIE is also working closely with other agencies and community housing providers to make energy more affordable for residents of Māori and Public housing.

Find out more about the Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund

Last updated: 24 May 2022