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Work to reduce power use in Aboriginal communities awarded

Horizon Power has been recognised by Australia's leading clean energy organisation for its work to improve energy efficiency in remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

The Clean Energy Council – a national clean energy industry association with more than 400 members – awarded Horizon Power the Business Community Engagement Award at a ceremony in Melbourne on Monday 2 May. The award recognises leadership and innovation in the growing clean energy industry.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren, presented the awards at the gala dinner of Clean Energy Week in Melbourne, the largest renewable energy event ever staged in Australia.

He said Horizon Power had implemented a tremendous community engagement program which began with energy efficiency education in 16 remote and town-based Aboriginal communities and has most recently resulted in energy efficiency refits in community housing in five of those communities.

The Home Energy Efficiency Engagement and Refit Program and the subsequent Energy Efficiency Program (EEP), are implemented by Horizon Power, with the Department of Housing and funded by the State's Public Utilities Office.

EEP involves the installation or repair of insulation, hot water systems and shade cloth to reduce heat in Aboriginal housing in five communities in the Mid-West and West Kimberley regions. Lagging on hot water systems and low-flow shower heads have also been installed and air-conditioning installation has been repaired.

EEP has also resulted in training opportunities for local Aboriginal trainees employed by AWC Carey Training Workforce and Development. Up to 20 trainees working towards a Certificate III in Civil Construction have gained valuable training experience conducting refit work for Horizon Power.

Horizon Power Manager Infrastructure Projects Ken Littlewood said he was proud that the utility’s work in Western Australian Aboriginal communities had been recognised at a national level by the clean energy industry.

He said Horizon Power had also developed educational materials about energy efficiency for Aboriginal residents and had one-on-one discussions with residents about how to cut back on their energy use and resultant power costs.

Horizon Power was last year recognised for its energy efficiency work in Aboriginal communities by the Sustainable Energy Association (WA).

As a result of the refit work, residents in these communities are expected to save as much as 20 per cent on their energy costs. Horizon Power also expects to benefit from fuel savings in the order of $400 per home each year in these communities, lowering the high cost to serve these communities.

Contact Reference: Wendy Pryer, Corporate Communications Adviser - Phone: 08 6310 1576