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 four-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 will complement other initiatives across government, the community and private sector that focus on making homes warmer and more energy efficient.

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 for up to $300,000 per funding round 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.

Funding available

A total of up to $1.26 million is available across both funds in the first funding round of 2020/2021.

Applications for this funding round closed on 9 February, 2021. Decisions on applications are expected to be made in March 2021.

Up to $6.65 million of funding will be available through further funding rounds over the following three years until 2024.

The next funding round is expected to open by mid-2021 and details will be published on this webpage.

You can also 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.

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.

Eligibility criteria

There are five 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 measure and monitor initiatives to show results.

Application process

Applications for the first funding round closed on Tuesday 9 February, 2021.

Evaluation process

MBIE is assessing applications against the eligibility criteria and the funding focus.

For the first round, the funding focus is on pilots that:

  • give a diverse range of the type of projects funded and who they target,
  • can be implemented to deliver results ahead of winter 2021, and
  • have potential to scale.

In some instances, additional information may be requested about the proposed initiative. Due to the limited size of the fund, it is expected not all proposals will be able to be funded.

Special conditions may be attached to funding approval. MBIE may amend, suspend, cancel or re-issue all or any part of this fund. 

A decision is expected to be made in March 2021 with funding allocated soon after.

The next funding round is scheduled to open by mid-2021.

More information

For any further information, please contact the SEEC Programme team by emailing energymarkets@mbie.govt.nz.

If you wish to receive further updates on the SEEC Programme and other energy hardship initiatives, email energymarkets@mbie.govt.nz with ‘energy hardship pānui’ in the subject header.

Read our SEEC Programme - December 2020 factsheet [PDF, 227 KB]

Related links

MBIE is also working closely with other agencies and community housing providers to make energy more affordable for residents of Māori and Public housing. For more information, visit the Māori and Public Housing Renewable Energy Fund webpage

Last updated: 10 February 2021