No Interest Loans Helping to keep Tasmanians Warm this Winter Sun 15 July 2012 Lara Giddings Premier Rebecca White Parliamentary Secretary for the Cost of Living Download hi-res version Rokeby resident Suzanne Lipscombe will stay warm this winter with the installation of an energy efficient heat pump, purchased through the No Interest Loan Scheme. The Premier, Lara Giddings, and Parliamentary Secretary for the Cost of Living, Rebecca White, said today the NILS scheme is making a real difference in the lives of low income Tasmanians. "Unfortunately we know that staying warm in winter is a real struggle for some families. "I have visited pensioners who chose to leave all their doors and windows open because the outside temperature was actually higher than the air inside. "I know another elderly couple who have to huddle over a tiny bar heater throughout winter. They told me it was cheap to buy but cost a small fortune to run. "Running an average portable heater for just five hours a day costs more than $600 a year compared to around $285 running a heat pump." "Suzanne has also had to rely in inefficient heating in the past but recently purchased a new heat pump through the Energy Efficient Appliances program, a $180 000 partnership between the Government and the NILS Network of Tasmania."Ms Giddings said the funding was part of the State Government's ongoing commitment to helping low income Tasmanians cope with the rising cost of living. Ms White said by working with community groups, the Government had been able to ensure that funding was targeted where it was really needed. "The sale of TOTE Tasmania has allowed us to invest a further $5 million in a wide range of initiatives that have been identified in collaboration with the community sector." "This winter organisations like Second Bite, FoodBank and Produce to the People have put together food packages to help families through the cold winter months. "Our investment in a $1 million Food Security Fund and Food Security Strategy is helping to build community gardens around the state. "And we are investing $2 million over the next two years to ensure vulnerable Tasmanians can access financial counseling and local assistance before their problems reach crisis point." Ms Giddings said the State Government had also spent $37 million to effectively halve the expected power price rise this financial year, saving all households around $200. "Electricity concessions have also been increased, meaning eligible pensioners and health care card holders like Ms Lipscombe will now receive around $450 off their annual power bills." Rick Tipping, Coordinator of the NILS Network of Tasmania said the Energy Efficient Appliances program had a loan limit of $2 500, double the normal limit for zero-interest loans. "NILS is also offering energy advice for applicants to the program, to assist people in making further reductions to their heating costs and increase household warmth." People with a healthcare or pension concession card are eligible to apply for NILS loans. Repayments are managed through Centrelink's Centrepay facility, with fortnightly loan repayments deducted directly from Centrelink's income support payments. To find out more, contact NILS on 1300 301 650.