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Canterbury charity CEA will continue with free insulation

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Community Energy Action Charitable Trust (CEA) will continue to offer free insulation for the foreseeable future to eligible owner-occupiers in Mid and North Canterbury and the West Coast.

This is thanks to a continuation of the government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes (WKH) programme announced in the Budget recently and despite a drop in the WKH funding level from 90% to 80%.

"I am very pleased that the WKH programme is continuing for another two years," CEA’s Chief Executive Caroline Shone says. "It makes total sense to us. Insulation and heating will keep homes warmer and ultimately people healthier. It will save on energy, it will save on health costs. CEA is extremely proud to be a part of it."

The Trust has been part of the government programmes to warm people’s homes since before the nationwide roll-out of government subsidies in 2009. CEA was involved in the pilot of the government subsidies. In the 27 years the Trust has been operating, it has installed insulation in more than 30,000 homes. CEA also offers free comprehensive in-home energy assessments, recycled curtains through its Curtain Bank as well as group education sessions.

One of the people who had their house insulated by CEA last year is Dyanne.

"I used to pay $78 a fortnight on smooth pay, now I am paying only $49 and I am still in credit over $400!" Dyanne enthusiastically shows the impact on her power bill since CEA insulated her home.

And it is not just the bill that has changed. "The house is much warmer," she says.

Dyanne lives alone with a few furry and feathery friends, and the cold also affected her relationships with other people.

"People knew my house was cold. They always came with lots of clothes on. I didn’t put the heat pump on because it was too expensive. I couldn’t heat the house."

If her granddaughter was staying with her, the little girl would always get sick after a few days. But last time she said when waking up: "Grandma, it was nice and warm."

Her daughter who lives next door used to say: I am going back to my own warm house now. "She stays much longer now!’ Dyanne says with a smile.

Her daughter told her to investigate the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme. "I said to her, I don’t qualify." But her daughter insisted: "Mum, you do! Let me apply for you." And she did. A few days later an email from CEA confirmed Dyanne’s eligibility.

"I couldn’t believe I qualified! I was so wrapped. It felt I had won the Lotto!’

The CEA assessor had a look in the ceiling and told her only part of the lounge was insulated and there was nothing in other parts of the house. After the house was properly insulated, running the heat pump was affordable for Dyanne.

"I am not scared to use the heat pump anymore!" Dyanne laughs.

"I get sick with bronchitis every year. I still got bronchitis last winter but now I can get up and have the heat pump on. Before, I needed to stay in bed all day to keep warm."

Dyanne is still working but only a few years away from retirement. "When I retire and am home every day, it will make a huge difference!"

"It’s the best thing my daughter ever ‘forced’ me into!"

"This is why we do what we do!" says Ms Shone, "Dyanne is one of many thousands who CEA have helped and who have had the same or a similar experience, which is absolutely fantastic and very rewarding for all involved. My plea is for others like Dyanne, to get in touch so we can help them too."

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