25th August 2021 / 10:00 AM via Zoom
Jan Wallace welcomed everyone to the zoom meeting, all introduced themselves and the organisations that they represent and what work they are doing in the community while in lockdown.
4.0 Guest Speaker – Jessica Niemack
Jessica is the community’s engagement officer at Utilities Disputes, which was previously called Electricity and Gas Commission, an independent organisation. They have three schemes, a water scheme, broadband shared access to property scheme and an energy and electricity scheme. The schemes work by the retailers voluntary registering with Utilities Disputes organisation and ae governed by the processes that they have in place. They operate in a way that is fair for the consumer and the retailers. The retailers pay a registration fee every year. Utilities Disputes create data to make sure that they can support positive change, some of the work relates to listening to and helping people with complaints.
Jessica’s role is raising the awareness of Utilities Disputes profile within the community. She works in the corporate and community space raising awareness of free services.
Community Engagement Officer
Please text 021 081 73 040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ring our Call Centre on 0800 22 33 40
Short Video presentation
Access to brochures and fact sheets to support your community.
Jessica recommended that when are selecting your power provider you should use “Power-switch” which will show you the best power provider based on your lifestyle and needs, there may be different plans and prices for the clients to consider.
Compare power companies and price plans
Utilities Disputes are working with ERANZ, The Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand. They do the ‘warmer dryer, healthy homes” programme. If you have people in a home where the power bills are high and it is unknown what has impacted on this Utilities Disputes can provide a referral to ERANZ’s. They will send out a representative to go out to the property with the family to look for ways to reduce the power bill, such as seals around doors and windows, having curtains that help keep the cold out, whether the home has insulation or looking at heating of the home, looking at whether power socket covers may need to be used, safety of appliances and power leads.
ERANZ (Electricity Retailers’ Association of New Zealand)- Referral Forms and Warmer Dryer Homes
ERANZ’s can make practical suggestions and provide referrals to other social service organisations, such as Habitat for Humanity for curtains or rugs, practical double glazing, blocking off drafts.
Habitat for Humanity has a curtain bank as well and other support services for whanau. https://habitat.org.nz
Utilities Disputes call centre time staff have recently been on a Shine programme about domestic violence, on how to be aware and mindful of clients who maybe being affected by domestic violence. The staff are trained to be empathic, non-judgemental and the role of the team is to facilitate a solution for the clients.
Christian Against Poverty (CAP) is another organisation, that Utilities Disputes have aligned with. CAP work in the advocacy space, helping with total money debt management. When clients are faced with back up bills or high power bills and the utilities retailer is wanting to recover the debt, clients can be referred to CAP to help manage the debt.
CAP (Christians Against Poverty )
Where whanau are overwhelmed by debt and need advocacy and total money management CAP can help talk and negotiate with collection agencies etc.
Utilities Disputes are forming a relationship with Victims Support, the Ministry of Justice recently appointed a Victim Support community engagement team. People or the police that are working with a victim often go into clients homes and see that there is a lack of food or the power is not on. They can now make referrals to support the families.
Where there is a client that may have a problem with their power meters and maybe faced with a high power bill, power poverty where a household is spending more than 10% of their income on power. Utilities Disputes will ask the clients if they have made contact with the power supplier, Utilities Disputes can help the client with an plan of approaching the power retailer. Utilities Disputes can also facilitate a meeting between the client and the power retailer, this is done with the clients approval, this may take place as a three way phone call.
Many consumers are not aware where they have a vulnerable person in the home that they can approach the power retailer if there are issues with payment, so that the power is not turned off and then works with the power retailer to address outstanding payments.
If clients are facing disconnection of the power service for non-payment or high power bills, for MSD clients there is an energy hardship fund that can be accessed.
For Utilities Disputes to be able to facilitate change, they need data which can then be used to write submissions.
Action: CNF to canvas the members to see if a there is interest in having a meeting with Utilities Dispute at different times throughout the day?
5.0 September’s meeting
Next month’s meeting theme is around sustainability, being held 22nd September at Franklin: The Centre starting at 10.00am .
Waiuku Zero Waste organisation in Waiuku are making a difference in the community. Often items that are seen as waste can be recycled, reused or upcycled rather than going into landfill. They also have a shed where they educate people on how to use tools, upcycle and recycle.
6.0 October meeting
How can we make our monthly meeting environment more culturally appropriate and welcoming. Input from the CNF members is welcome.
7.0 November meeting
The last meeting of the year will be a celebration of the year and reflection on what has been achieved.
8.0 What is happening in the community and what support do organisation need?
Organisations are busy in the community providing social services –
Middlemore Foundation – Lyle Smith – Have had donated 5000 bottles of water, can’t distribute this currently, when we can will be distributing to the Pacific and Maori community. Also trying to get funding for hygiene packs. Any sources of food to help bulk up the food parcels are welcome.
Continuing the spaces programmes via zoom for first time mum’s.
CMDHB – Shona Paterson – The community teams are visiting essential clients and doing tele-help checks for others. They are asking standardised questions on their vulnerability and then following up with other social service organisations.
If anyone is aware of someone that may need assistance please pass their contact details onto Shona.
PCA – Jan Wallace – Providing food parcels to the community, the value is $120, and are filled with the basics for a household.
Papakura MP’s office – Pania Wilson – Initiated wellness check in to Kaumatua and Kuia. Connecting the community with social service organisations.
Franklin Family Support – Vicki Mee – For some families there is a lot of stress around paying their monthly debts, particularly around car payments where they may not be able to make a payment and their car is immobilised. FFS can help with budgeting and will contact the company on the clients behalf and also will put in for hardship grants
Well woman Franklin – Bridget Davies – Continuing to support mums via zoom while in lockdown.
The meeting was closed by Jan Wallace.
Meeting closed at 11.15.