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Taumarunui’s Phillip Albert been supported by Maru Energy Trust to have ceiling and under-floor insulation installed in his home.Te Kūiti’s Sarah Anderson received support from Maru Energy Trust.

TLC boosts funding to warm up local homes

11 July 2024

The Lines Company (TLC) has announced a massive boost to community funding aimed at keeping King Country homes and families warm.

For the next three years, TLC will donate $450,000 per year to Maru Energy Trust, an independent trust which helps make local homes warmer, drier and healthier. The funding is an increase of $300,000 per year from TLC and means that, since 2018, TLC will have contributed around $2 million to the programme.

Maru Energy Trust chair Brian Hanna said the increased TLC funding would “turbo-charge” the Trust’s work. Since it was established in 2018, Maru has insulated more than 900 homes across the King Country and installed more than 400 heat pumps.  Of those, 582 insulations and 244 heat pumps were in the southern part of the network (Ruapehu and Taupo districts) and 341 insulations and 165 heat pumps were in the northern part (Waitomo and Ōtorohanga districts).

An assessment indicates around 2,500 more homes across the TLC network may still be eligible for free insulation and 1,500 more could qualify for free heat pumps. That means there were still people living in cold, damp homes and that wasn’t good enough, Hanna said.

“The extra TLC funding will be a massive step-change because we can do a lot more work, faster. Our big goal – and I think its achievable – is to have all houses across the King Country insulated and warm within the next decade. If we work together, we can make a huge difference to local families and to the wider health and wellbeing of our community.”

Maru also receives funding from Ōtorohanga and Ruapehu District Councils, Trust Waikato, New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, WESCT, King Country Trust and the Ōtorohanga Charitable Trust. Its work is supported by the government through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). For every dollar Maru puts into the programme, EECA provides $9 worth of value.

TLC chief executive and Maru Trustee Mike Fox said EECA funding was available for the next three years, so the timing was right for TLC to make a major investment into Maru. The money came from the sale of TLC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Influx, sold in 2023.

TLC’s shareholder, Waitomo Energy Services Customer Trust (WESCT) supported the funding decision, WESCT chair William Oliver said.

“With the 9-1 funding Maru can leverage from EECA this is a real opportunity to help those with uninsulated homes energy efficient heat pumps. This is a huge initiative to improve our community’s health, in particular for tamariki and for older people.”

Brian Hanna said the TLC funding boost could double the number of homes insulated and heat pumps installed  over the next three years.  But the Trust will continue to aim higher.

“I’m hoping others will also come on board to help, either with cash grants or via donations of goods or services. Attracting community partnerships and asking people and groups to work together will be a big focus for the Trust going forward.”

To find out if your home qualifies for free insulation and a heat pump, call 0800 800 901 or visit the Maru Energy Trust website.

For more information contact