Stories from Bethesda: Energy Local means community pride for Tom.

Tom Simone is Bethesda born and bred, and his wife is from nearby Llangefni. Raising three young children means they use quite a lot of energy around the house. With lots of washing and different electronics on the go, their bills can really add up!

Hello Tom. How did you get involved in the Energy Local project?

One of the locals who set it up – Mel – her children are at the same school as mine, so I know her. I heard her speak about it a local event and thought it sounded great.

What are your thoughts about the project so far?

Well we switched to our Energy Local tariff from a pay-as-you-go meter. It was pretty expensive - and to be honest we weren’t sure what the rates were. What’s good about this project is that it tells us what the charges are at different time of the day. Like families across the country, we are squeezed from both ends, so the extra money will make a difference to us.

Have you been changing your electricity usage habits?

My wife and I are both self-employed, so we’re often working from home. Because we use electricity throughout the day, we have the ability to shift our usage significantly. We’ve been checking the hydro, and moving our usage to the cheaper tariffs.

What effect has the project had on the wider community?

I think there is already a strong community in Bethesda but having something locally focused has given people a chance to come together for collective good. It’s made people feel more connected.

How does it feel to see your community in a pioneering project?

Bethesda has often been seen as a small insignificant place, a bit of a back water. The quarry is has been declining for years, and we’ve lost jobs with it. Now, seeing us at the cutting edge gives me a real sense of pride.

For you, what’s been the best thing about being involved with this project?

When you become a parent your time frame for the future increases - you think about whether this will still be a good world for your children and grandchildren. I've always been interested in environmental issues and what we can do. It's easy to be pessimistic but projects like these give hope for a better world - projects likes this scaled up can make a great difference. It’s exciting to see that we can change our energy mix for the better.

Photo: Tom Simone