BUSINESSES and community groups are being encouraged to give themselves a Christmas present by reducing electricity use while their offices are closed over the holiday period.
Not only will they save money, they'll be helping the environment at the same time, says Origin's Consumer Media and Partnerships manager, Amy Stockfeld.
The energy efficiency message is part of the Origin Local Savers program which was launched in Tamworth in November with Origin offering $10,000 in grants to people, businesses and community and sporting groups in the Tamworth district.
The Local Savers program is being supported by The Northern Daily Leader and is designed to help people and organisations reduce their energy consumption.
But with Christmas just about to arrive and many businesses under pressure to clear their workloads prior to the holidays, energy efficiency is often overlooked.
With many businesses closing for at least a week it provides the ideal time to power down in more ways than one.
"With many organisations in Tamworth taking a well-deserved break over the festive season, it's important to know how to power down in an energy efficient way. The Origin Local Savers program is encouraging business owners and community groups to check their automated heating and cooling systems and switch off when the office is closed," Ms Stockfeld said.
"Additional energy and dollar savings can be made by taking appliances, such as the office TV or microwave, off stand-by mode. If they're not going to be used for a couple of weeks, there's no need for them to still consume valuable power," she said.
One business that will be doing its bit to save power and money this holiday period is Tamworth's Psarakis Accounting. Staff at the accounting firm will be taking a break over the Christmas and New Year period and will be doing what they can to reduce power consumption while the office is idle.
The Tamworth Origin Local Savers program is the first time grants have been available to private households.
Origin's energy efficiency export, Doug McPherson, says he believes the new expanded program will help the region in its efforts to embrace energy efficiency.
Applications for the grants are open across three categories.
o Community and sporting groups (one $3500 grant)
o Local businesses (one $3500 grant)
o Households (three $1000 grants). Grant recipients will also receive a comprehensive energy assessment from an Origin energy efficiency adviser, who will provide energy efficiency tips
To apply visit www. originenergy.com.au/ localsavers and outline how an Origin Local Savers grant will help you become more energy efficient at home or in the community.