20171127 give a flick we did it clear

Help us, help households in need

20% of Kiwis say they’ve gone without electricity or heating because they can’t afford it.

More than 25,000 Kiwi kids are hospitalised with respiratory issues each year.

Energy poverty is thought to contribute to 1,600 unnecessary deaths in New Zealand each winter.


Through the power of shulbs, we've hit our goal to fit out the homes of vulnerable families with 10,000 energy efficient lightbulbs, and collectively save them more than $1,000,000 on their electricity costs! #FlickYeah

What is Energy Poverty?

Energy poverty is a complex but critical national issue. It’s about low wages, poor quality housing and the cost of energy. To end energy poverty we need systemic change which means everyone in the system must recognise the issue and think about what they can do to help.

That’s why we’ve spent the past three years building a business that, over time, cuts about 20% off a household’s energy bill. Now, we want to make sure that smart technology reaches the people who need it the most.

20171120 the mcleods1

Living in energy poverty.

Meet the McLeod family of Miramar, Wellington. This past winter, the McLeods faced massive power bills to keep their home warm.

Read their story on living in energy poverty.

Help end energy poverty in Aotearoa

At Flick, we believe we have a responsibility to raise national awareness of energy poverty - read more about our philosophy from the Chief Flickster himself - but we also want to do something tangible to help vulnerable families right now.

Thanks to you, we're fitting out Kiwi homes with more than 10,000 energy efficient lightbulbs, so we can save them a collective $1m on their electricity costs. But we don't want the conversation to end there.

Join the Movement

"(Energy Poverty) is a real issue that a lot of us hadn't really thought about, but we all need to help with." - Jordan Watson, AKA How to Dad

We've got some flickin' awesome Kiwis behind our mission, and we want you to be a part of it too! Click the wee arrow on the right, sign up to hear more about what we're doing to help end energy poverty in Aotearoa, and find out how you can help.

Mark Hadlow

"Get behind Flick and help them put an end to energy poverty in New Zealand."

Mark Hadlow is a celebrated actor and comedian, best known for his roles in King Kong and The Hobbit. Hadlow was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit earlier this year, for services to the arts.

Watch Mark's video!

Kiri Waldegraveth

"Our assessors go out to homes and see people, and often we're seeing families they are doing a really great job, with the limited resources that they have. But sometimes they have to make a tough choice of heating or eating -and it shouldn't be like this."

Kiri Waldegrave is a Senior Public Health Advisor from Wellington. Kiri works with Well Homes, an initiative that links whānau to appropriate services like insulation, heating, or curtain banks.

Watch Kiri's video!

Steve Joll

"A small change can make such a big difference."

Steve Joll is a writer, TV host, and radio broadcaster. He is currently the host of the Breeze Breakfast show, which he records in his hometown of Wellington.

Watch Steve's video!

Anna Guenther

"There are people in New Zealand that have to make a decision between electricity, or whether they feed their children - that's over 20% of New Zealanders."

Anna Guenther is the CEO of PledgeMe, a New Zealand based crowdfunding platform.

Watch Anna's video!

Dr. Lance O'Sullivan

"We should be front footing a lot of these problems that are due to environmental factors, problems that are due to environmental
factors. These are resulting in our children becoming sick. And part of that starts with educating and empowering communities and families to understand where they can do things for themselves."

Dr. Lance O'Sullivan is a doctor operating out of Kaitaia, who was named New Zealander of the Year 2014, thanks to his work on rural health projects.

Watch Lance's video here.

Justin Lester

"1 in 5 kiwi households can't afford to pay their power bill every month. I don't want to live in a city where people are making those kinds of decisions."

Justin Lester is Mayor of Wellington City, and has held the position since October 2016.

Watch Justin's video here.

Chris Farrelly

"I've been talking to [Flick] and have discovered that we share something common, we share some values and we share some passion for addressing poverty in New Zealand."

Chris Farrelly is the CEO of the Auckland City Mission, an organisation dedicated to helping Aucklanders in desperate need.

See Chris' video here.

Malcolm Rands

"There's not much point living in a lovely neighbourhood, if you can't afford to heat your house in winter - when it's cold and damp, and the kids might get pneumonia."

Malcolm Rand is the co-founder of Ecostore, and is currently running the Fairground Foundation - an organsation dedicate to solving social and environmental issues.

Watch Malcolm's video here.

Got questions about energy poverty?

What is the definition of ‘Energy Poverty’?

The technical definition of a household suffering energy poverty is when they need to spend 10% or more of their income on fuel to keep the house temperature at a healthy level. But it’s generally accepted that a household is energy poor if they need to spend an excessive amount of their income on heating.

The World Health Organisation says that the healthy temperature for a home is 21 degrees in the main living area and 18 degrees in the rest of the house. If people are home all day, heating needs to be available for 16 hours per day; and in households where people are mainly away at study or work during the day, that heating should be available for 9 hours per day.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

How do we know that ‘Energy Poverty’ is a problem in New Zealand?

A University of Otago study found that one in five New Zealanders have experienced fuel poverty.

Their research looked at both the technical definition of Fuel Poverty (above), and asked “Have you ever gone without heating/power because you felt unable to afford it?”.

We see the impact of Fuel Poverty in a range of health and wellbeing statistics too.

According to University of Otago research, energy poverty is thought to be a factor in New Zealand’s high rate of excess winter mortality (an additional 1,600 deaths a year) and excess winter hospitalisations (8% of all hospitalisations).

Over the past year more than 25,000 children were admitted to hospital with respiratory issues. Respiratory disease has a strong correlation with unhealthy homes.

And according to the International Energy Agency, New Zealand has the lowest space heating intensity in the developed world. Most kiwis will be familiar with how badly insulated our houses are!

Sources: Statistics New Zealand, University of Otago, Child Poverty Action Group

Isn’t ‘Energy Poverty’ just ‘Poverty’?

Households with low incomes are more likely to suffer from energy poverty. But the definition is separate because energy poverty relates specifically to not being able to afford the fuel needed to adequately warm a home.

How do energy efficient lightbulbs help?

Energy Poverty is complex - low wages, poor quality housing, and the cost of energy all contribute.

There are a number of ways that households can reduce their electricity costs so they can better afford the energy they need to be warm.

Energy efficient lightbulbs can slash 80% of a household’s lighting costs - around $400 per year, or 20% of the average household’s total electricity cost!

LED bulbs also have an estimated 10 year life so the savings really add up over time.

But the upfront cost of energy efficient lightbulbs is prohibitive for most families suffering energy poverty. That’s why we started this initiative - to meet those upfront costs so families in need can start enjoying the savings this great technology enables.

Sources: EnergyWise, Consumer NZ

What happens when you hit 10,000 'shulbs'?

Unfortunately we can't afford to fund more than 10,000 bulbs (we're still a tiny start-up that's not making a profit yet!) but we think it's critical that we all keep spreading the word about energy poverty.

We've got a bunch of stories, videos and data about this issue that we'll keep sharing, and we'd love you to share it too.

We're also working on some great products to help people reduce their electricity costs, and we'll keep the pressure on other companies to do the same.

How have you calculated the potential savings from changing lightbulbs?

We used the EECA calculator for standard lightbulbs, and replaced it with a comparable LED bulb. According to Consumer NZ, a standard household has an average 30 bulbs - which means that replacing a house fitted with 60w/800 lumen standard bulbs with an LED equivalent makes the savings over $400 a year. Obviously this will vary house to house - some have more bulbs, some have less - but our goal is to fit enough NZ households with enough bulbs so that over 10 years (an average lifespan of an LED bulb) they save collectively $1,000,000.

What else can households do to reduce their energy costs?

Changing power companies is a great place to start. Only 30% of New Zealanders change power companies every few years, but if you shop around you can often get a much better deal than you’re currently on. At Flick we’re saving customers on average $390 each year.

There are a range of local services that offer home energy audits to help you understand where you can make improvements at home. A few of these are:

Healthy Homes Tai Tokerau - Kaitaia

EcoMatters - Auckland

GreenStar Energy Solutions - Auckland

Waikato Environment Centre - Hamilton

Sustainability Options - Tauranga

WISE Better Homes Trust - Rotorua/New Plymouth

Community Housing Aotearoa - Wellington

Sustainability Trust - Wellington

Community Energy Action - Christchurch

Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust

Awarua Synergy

Curtains are critical for keeping heat in the home. If you cannot afford curtains, there are curtain banks operating in all the main centres and many towns. You can try:

West Auckland Curtain Bank
09 818 0788
curtainbank@visionwest.org.nz

South Auckland Curtain Bank
0800 789 276
curtainbank@greenstarenergy.co.nz

Rotorua Curtain Bank
curtainbankrotorua@gmail.com

Wellington Curtain Bank
0508 78 78 24 ext 705
curtainbank@sustaintrust.org.nz

Christchurch Curtain Bank
03 374 7222 or 0800 438 9276
info@cea.co.nz

Dunedin Curtain Bank
03 425 9678
info@dunedincurtainbank.org.nz

There are more great tips about making your home more energy efficient on the EECA website.

As a power company, if you really care, why don’t you just make electricity cheaper?

We have! On average, Flick customers save $390 per year compared to their old retailer. Our technology doesn’t cost people anything to access, and lets them use power smarter to save money.

Until Flick launched, the only way to save money on your power bill was to use less electricity. This is a terrible message to people who are already going without as a way to try and reduce their power bills.

With Flick, you can use the electricity you need to live well, but pay less for it by using it at cheaper times of day. Our smart tools make this easy.

Why don’t you just give away energy efficient bulbs without making a song and dance about it?

As well as providing these bulbs we think it is really important that all New Zealanders understand the problem with energy poverty in our country.

We also wanted to make people aware of the money saving potential of energy efficient bulbs.

This initiative is a great way to spread both messages.

What does Flick get out of this?

Nothing! In fact, we make less money when our customers use less electricity. But we think that making people aware of smart, energy saving technology, and making this available to people who need it most, is the right thing to do.

You can read Flick CEO Steve’s perspective on the issue of energy poverty, and why we have a responsibility to help.

What's a shulb?

"1 share = 1 bulb", or as Jordan Watson, AKA How to Dad likes to call it, "a shulb".

When you share Jordan's video highlighting the issue of energy poverty in Aotearoa, you'll help raise awareness about this relatively unknown but very real issue.

Give the video a watch; it'll all come to light.