Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Improving prepayment electricity schemes

Improving prepayment electricity schemes could benefit households

As power prices continue in an upward trend as reported in the latest Consumer Price Index, a new study shows households looking to find ways to make savings could benefit from using prepayment metering.

Just published in the international journal Sustainable Cities and Society, the University of Otago, Wellington study describes in-depth interviews with 12 households in the lower North Island.

Households reported a high level of satisfaction with using prepayment metering for electricity, despite the higher prices charged in New Zealand for the service.

The study was undertaken by Dr Kimberley O’Sullivan, Helen Viggers, and Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman of the He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme. It found households using prepayment metering benefit from more immediate feedback on their electricity use and find it easier to budget.

Households used their prepayment meters to put a price on using different electrical appliances such as heaters, ovens, and clothes driers. This allowed them to make more informed choices about how they budget their electricity use within the home.

However, Dr O’Sullivan cautions that fairer pricing for prepayment and better consumer protections are required to level the playing field.

“I would like to see the Government step up and follow the example of Northern Ireland, where prepayment meter prices are required to be less expensive than standard billing, and stronger consumer protections around crediting and disconnection are in place,” Dr O’Sullivan says.

Previous nationwide surveys carried out by He Kainga Oranga have found that mostly low-income households use prepayment. It is unfair that these households have to pay more for their electricity despite paying in advance and having no risk of debt-accrual to companies, Dr O’Sullivan says.

Competition in the prepayment market is also decreasing, with Contact Energy no longer accepting new prepayment customers, and only one retailer offering prepayment in most areas where it is available.

Prepayment metering could have significant advantages for managing household energy consumption from an environmental perspective, Dr O’Sullivan says.

“Better feedback about the cost of using electricity within the home can help to encourage energy efficiency. That’s good for budgets and the environment where there is room for people to make savings. For some households who are not using enough electricity to keep warm though, there is a risk that they will be put off using heating and go cold.”


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news