Hot Issues: Energy
The Bright Sparks Project
Bright Sparks – Switched on Communities Grant
QDN delivered the Bright Sparks Project to almost 1000 people with disability in South East Queensland between November 2016 and June 2017. The project operated through QCOSS Switched on Communities Grants, and was funded by AGL and the Queensland Government, to deliver targeted programs to assist people who experience disadvantage or financial hardship to get better outcomes in the competitive energy market.
The Bright Sparks Project delivered workshops by and for people with disability, helping participants better understand their bills, compare electricity plans and access the supports available if they experience financial difficulty. Bright Sparks workshops, resources and tools were co-designed and co-delivered by QDN’s Energy Champions who are people with disability.
QDN also engaged with another 6000 workers and allies who support people with disability through disability and housing services.
QDN’s Energy Champions are people with a broad range of lived experience of disability and include people who have visual, hearing, physical and intellectual disability.
The Bright Sparks Project was able to deliver workshops to a wide range of people with disability in the South East corner. Participants reported that 90% were going to change their energy consumption habits, and 95% felt they were more empowered energy customers after attending the workshop. Only 60% of participants were currently receiving rebates or concessions at the time, with a significant number of people unaware of what was available.
As part of the project, QDN developed a video and a workbook. Check out the Bright Sparks Project video and handbook below, where you can learn more about how to save on your electricity bill.
Feedback from Participants about the Workshops
The Bright Sparks Project participants reported a range of savings and great outcomes from attending the workshops.
“After Bright Sparks helped me to switch, my previous retailer called me and offered me a 21% discount if I returned and offered to pay the fees to get out of the new contract. I am saving over $400 a year from my bills.”
“After the workshop I called my retailer to say I know there are better deals out there. They offered me a 14% discount across the whole bill to get me to stay with them. It really helps me as I am on a fixed income and I am going to help other people in my community.”
“By changing my energy use habits that I learnt about in the workshops, my quarterly bill is down by $100.”
“The talk was very clear, easy to understand and informative. There should be more projects like this. The speakers were clear, polite, calm, informative and honest.”
“Good to learn about rebates I wasn’t aware of.”
“Thank you for your help – I feel I can breathe again knowing how to fix my problems.”