Home Energy Scheme

The Home Energy Scheme is funding assistance to enable homeowners to invest in energy efficient and sustainable initiatives. By making available a voluntary targeted rate (VTR) we are taking the role of a facilitator and removing a financial barrier that can prevent or inhibit ratepayer from being able to install energy efficient systems and products

FAQs 

1. What is the Voluntary Targeted Rate (VTR) Home Energy Scheme?

It is essentially funding assistance to enable homeowners to invest in energy efficient and sustainable initiatives. By making available a VTR the Council is taking the role of a facilitator and removing a financial barrier that can prevent or inhibit ratepayer from being able to install energy efficient systems and products

2. What is a Voluntary Targeted Rate (VTR)?

It is funding assistance that is permitted under the Rating Power Act. Under the Act, the Council is providing a service (enabling the supply of energy efficient systems and products), the cost of which is progressively recovered via the rates from the property that benefits from the service (including the borrowing costs).

3. What is the cost to the Council and ratepayers who do not take up the scheme?

There is no cost to the Council or the ratepayers at large. All costs and charges associated with the running and administration of the scheme are borne by the ratepayer who is benefiting from the service.

4. Who is eligible to apply for a VTR?

You are eligible to apply for a VTR if you are the ratepayer on the property, are up to date with the rate payments for your property, and in the case of insulations, own a home built before 2000.

5. What products and services are eligible and how can I find out more about them?

Subject to the conditions of application being met, a VTR may be available for the following products and services:

The Council will only consider applications for a Voluntary Targeted Rate for products and services that meet the following criteria:

  • Insulations installed by an EECA register installer (for a list of providers in the district visit www.eeca.govt.nz)
  • Clean Heat and Solar Water Heating Products that have energy star rating (for information on products that have an energy star rating speak to a service provider or visit www.energywise.govt.nz/ratings-and-labels/energy-star)
  • Heat Pump Water Heating products that are registered with the NZ Green Building Council   (www.nzgbc.org.nz)

5a. Are there any specific conditions I need to know about regarding the installations?

If you wish to apply for a VTR to install a clean heat appliance, your home must first be insulated. The insulation in your home should meet the following standard NZS 4246. All EECA-approved installers and products comply with this standard.

If you wish to install a clean heat appliance, this must be installed in the main living areas of your home, and not in the bedrooms.

If your home is built after 2000, is insulated but does not have adequate heating you are entitled to apply for a VTR to install a clean heat appliance.

If you wish to install a solar water heating system you will also need to obtain a building consent.

6. Where can I obtain independent advice and information?

For more information on any of these products and services contact a local service provider or EECA at www.energywise.govt.nz or phone 0800 358 676 or visit the Smarter Homes website at www.smarterhomes.org.nz

7. How does the scheme work?

The ratepayer engages with a service provider about the product or system they would like to have installed. The ratepayer makes an application to the Council for a VTR on their property. When the application has been approved, the service provider provides the Council with the quote for the works. The Council will confirm the VTR amount the householder is eligible to apply for, and advise the home owner of any additional requirements i.e. building consents.

Following the installation of the product or service and confirmation and inspection as required, the Council will pay the service provider the agreed contribution. The Council pays the upfront cost of the installation; the ratepayer will then pay the continuation back over a set period as part of their rate (including interest).

8. What is the Council’s role?

The Councils role is to facilitate ratepayer’s access to the finance. The Council will set up and manage the VTR Scheme. The Council will pay the service provider the agreed contribution for complete works.

9. What is my responsibility as the ratepayer?

The ratepayer will find a service provider and work with them in respect of the works. The ratepayer is responsible for making the application to the Council, and complying with building consent and other requirements from the Council.

The ratepayer is obliged to pay the additional rate as part of their arrangement rates re-payment.
The ratepayer may be encouraged to re-pay the outstanding amount if the property is sold prior to the full amount being paid, except where mutual agreement for the VTR to be transferred to the property owner is agreed between the new home owner and the Council.

10. How much money can I get?

Up to $2,600  (including GST) is available for insulations. For insulations there is also a subsidy available from EECA. The EECA approved service provider will give you details of what government support is also available.
Up to $5000 (including GST) is available for the installation of solar heating, clean heat or heat pump water heating. You may have to pay additional costs to pay to the service provider for the installation of these products.

Please note, a household is only eligible for one VTR on their home, either for insulation OR clean heat / solar heating.

11. How much will I have to pay back?

The amount you pay back will depend on the amount of money you draw down. The total amount repayable will also vary slightly depending on whether you pay your rates fortnightly, monthly, quarterly or annually, and the period of time you want to pay-back the amount (the standard is nine years). The Council will confirm with you the total amount repayable by you, and the amount you will pay as part of your rates.

The Council currently charges interest of 7% on the VTR. The interest rate covers the cost of borrowing to the Council.

The table below gives you an idea of how much will be repaid.

Financial Assistance  $5,000  $2,600  $ 2,000 $1,000 
Cost per rate payment (10 per annum) $63.95 $34.42 $26.48 $13.24
Per annum cost $767.44 $413.03 $317.72 $158.86
9 year total $6,906.98 $3,717.27 $2,859.48 $1,429.74

The interest rate and charges by the Council reflect the cost of borrowing to the Council and the cost of establishing and administering the scheme. As a home owner, you may find it more cost effective to finance these works through your mortgage holder.

You may wish to speak with your bank about providing the finance for your home energy installation. Many banks already waive the administration and loan set up fee for the installation of home energy solution. Contact your local bank for more information or go to EECA for further information.

12. Are there any other costs payable?

A one off set up fee of $200 is payable with your application.

There may also be building consent costs and associated inspection charges. You should check with us and the service provider prior to making your application.

13. When will the repayments start?

Irrespective of when in the year the installations have taken place, you will not be required to commence re-payment until the start of the next rating year (1 July).

14. Can I pay back early?

Yes. Contact the Council and they will confirm the amount outstanding.

15. How long will it take to approve my application?

The application will take no longer than 10 working days to assess. The Council will contact you in writing and let you know the outcome of the application.

16. What happens if I change my mind?

You are obliged to notify the Council prior to the installation of the product or system. Once the product or system is installed, you are obligated under contract to repay the amount.

Should you change your mind, the Council reserves the right to keep all or part of the $200 administration / set up fee, to compensate for the setting up of your individual VTR.

17. What happens if I want to sell my house?

You are required to inform the purchaser of the property of the additional rate on the property. There is a requirement to pay off the outstanding amount, unless the Council and the new owner of the property agree to take on the remaining VTR.

18. I own more than one house, can I get funding for each property I own?

You will be eligible to apply for a VTR for each of the properties you own that has its own rate account. You must meet the eligibility criteria for each property for which you are applying (be the ratepayer, have no arrears, and own a property built before 2000 in the case of insulations).

19. What are my obligations as a service provider?

As a service provider you will be required to engage in a contractual agreement with the Council prior to undertaking the home energy installations. You may enquire about becoming an approved supplier prior to a ratepayer making an application (your prior application may help speed up the processes for the ratepayer). You will only need to register with the Council once.

Where required the service provider must be an approved EECA provider (insulations) or must make available and install Energy Star approved products or heat pump water heating that is registered by the NZ Hot Water Association.

Payment for the works shall be subject to the conformation of the completion of works. For insulations, this is the submission of the PIA (post insulation audit form). In the case of clean heat installations, submission of the electrical or plumbing compliance certificates. For solar water systems this is the building consent sign off.

Payment shall only be made upon the Council receiving a tax invoice for the approved contribution. 

In the event of a default or problem the service provider must seek to remedy the issue before seeking payment for the works.

20. How do I apply?

If as a ratepayer you choose to make an application to the Council, you must complete the approved application form and provide the necessary information.

If as a service provider you wish to register with the Council you may obtain an application form by visiting the Civic Centre or one of the Council Service Centres or by telephoning the Council on 06-759 6060 and asking to speak with the Rating Manager.

21. What happens if there is a complaint or dispute?

In the event of a complaint or dispute between the homeowner and the service provider, the two parties are encouraged to resolve the issues themselves. In the event that the issue or problem cannot be resolved, the parties may need to enter into a dispute resolution process. The Council will not become involved in a dispute between the ratepayer and the service provider.

In the event of a complaint or dispute between the homeowner and the Council in respect of the VTR, the parties are encouraged to try and resolve the issue themselves. In the event that the issue cannot be resolved, the ratepayer will be advised of the Council’s formal complaints procedure. 

In the event of a complaint or dispute between the service provider and the Council in respect of the payment for works completed, the parties are encouraged to try and resolve the issue themselves. In the event that the issue cannot be resolved, the service provider will be advised of the Council’s formal complaints procedure. 

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