Donna Watts was born and raised in Bethesda and still lives there with her husband and two daughters, aged 10 and 12. Like many families in Bethesda, extra money at the end of the month can make a real difference for them. So far, being part of the Energy Local project has saved them about £30 a month on their energy bills. She’s thrilled that their energy shifting efforts are paying off!
Hi Donna! What made you join the Energy Local trial?
I heard that Energy Local were recruiting households, and I was quite interested in the idea of getting my energy supplied from a local hydro, using clean energy.
How easy have you found it to get into the scheme?
At the start it was a struggle, it was a habit of putting the dishwasher on straight after finishing tea. But, now I’m getting into a routine. My husband's been warned - don’t turn it on until after 8pm! Now he’ll look at the time and say “Donna can I turn the dishwasher on yet?”, and I’ll say “no wait another 15 minutes!”
How do you feel it's impacted the community so far?
I think it’s got a lot of different people together, I’ve got to meet a lot of people I didn’t know in the village. There’s a wide range of ages, and it’s been nice getting together with other people in the energy club and discussing ideas for saving energy.
As someone who grew up in the area, how do you think projects like this can help improve people’s lives in Bethesda?
It’s great that projects like this can put little Bethesda on the map and help regenerate places like the high street. We were on X-Ray (Welsh television programme) last week - I’ve been stopped loads “oh, you were on the tv!” - people are excited! Being involved in a pilot that’s the first of its kind in Wales, it’s amazing.
What will you be spending the money you’ve saved on?
“It's nice to treat the kids and have family days out, as we don’t have so many of them. We had one on Mother's Day for the first time in ages - we went to Plas Newydd, the National Trust place. We took a picnic. The difference in the girls - just from spending time together away from the tv and their phones - was lovely. With the money we’re saving, we’re hoping we can have more days together like that.”
Photo: Tom Simone