Southerners slow to heed energy advice

Fewer Otago and Southland residents have connected with the Government's multimillion-dollar energy efficiency campaign than in the rest of New Zealand.

Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority figures released under the Official Information Act revealed 41% of New Zealanders changed the way they used energy after watching an Energy Spot commercial.

In Otago and Southland, 38% of people who saw one of the commercials acted on its advice.

Authority chief executive Mike Underhill said 2.4 million New Zealanders had seen the commercials since the campaign began in 2009.

Between 2009-10 and 2012-13, the campaign cost $12.93 million.

The authority surveyed 750 people nationally every three months to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign.

Mr Underhill said the survey responses revealed common themes of action.

Vehicle users drove more efficiently, with lighter loads in cars, and bought more fuel-efficient cars.

The hot-water users bought an efficient system, reduced hot-water wastage, turned down the hot-water cylinder, wrapped cylinders and pipes, used cold water to wash clothes, fixed taps and took shorter showers.

The respondents installed insulation and thermal curtains and blinds, draught-proofed, improved heating sources, closed curtains earlier, ventilated and dried washing outside.

Appliance users installed energy-efficient light bulbs, turned off lights when not in use, checked energy ratings when buying appliances and installed timers and thermostats.

Warm & Cool director Wayne Hanley, of Dunedin, said more shoppers coming to the showroom to buy heating and hot-water systems knew about energy efficiency.

The Energy Spot commercials had raised awareness.

''People do come looking for more efficient ways of doing things.

''Where once upon a time everything was a hard sell, people are now coming in better informed.''

Southerners were inclined to be slower to heed new advice.

''People down here are pretty much set in their ways when it come to change. The further south, the slower the change comes about - people tend to be a bit more conservative.''

shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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