Support for Energy Education in Communities Programme

The Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme is part of a suite of new 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 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

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 [PDF, 630 KB]

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

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 [PDF, 774 KB]

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

There is $2.05 million available in 2022/23 and $2.95 million available in 2023/24, with the next funding round expected in mid-2022.

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.

Unsuccessful applicants may re-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. We will update this section with details on how to apply ahead of the funding round opening.

More information

You can sign up to receive email updates about the SEEC Programme, next funding rounds, and other energy hardship initiatives, by emailing energymarkets@mbie.govt.nz with ‘energy hardship pānui’ in the subject header.

Read our latest Energy Hardship Update e-newsletter or sign up to receive future issues to stay up to date on the SEEC Programme and other energy hardship initiatives.

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: 17 November 2021