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Save money by knowing how to read your power bill


Knowing how to read your power bill could be first step to saving money

Auckland, 22 May 2018. As we get ready for the colder winter months, over one third of us are already worrying about how much our next power bill will be.

Research released today by Canstar Blue, the results of questioning 4,251 consumers, reveals that 36% of Kiwis worry about their power bill and 48% will use extra clothes or blankets to keep warm instead of increasing the heating. However, despite worrying about the costs, many of us don’t understand the information contained in our power bills

Canstar Blue general manager Jose George said:

“Three in ten Kiwis don’t know how to read their power bill so how can they be sure if they are getting a good deal or not? When it comes to getting bang for your buck this is quite literally a case of knowledge is power.”

Power and power bills explained

Your power bill reflects how and when you use your power and covers the costs of everything from generating that power to delivering to your door. The first element of your bill is a daily fixed charge, a set amount that covers the costs of generation and transportation of the power from its source, to your property.

In addition, you will have variable charges – costs that fluctuate depending on your usage, made up of kWh (Kilowhatt per hour), sometimes known as ‘units’, Electricity Authority Levy, and finally you will be charged GST on the total amount of your bill.

George continues:

“There are various ways you can influence your variable power costs. Spot price contracts for example, allow customers to buy power at the time they use it. The advantage here is that if you are disciplined enough to use appliances such as dishwashers and dryers at off-peak times, you will pay less than the retail market rate for your power, the flipside is that if you are consuming power at peak time, you could pay considerably more.”

Other ways to save include opting for a low-user tariff if you are a smaller household or consider a ‘controlled plan’. This is where some of your appliances are connected to a meter that will only supply electricity for a specific period each day. Great for washing machines, hot water cylinders and heat pumps.

More ways to save

The practical ways to save on your power are well documented but even once you’ve used the power, you still have opportunities to reduce your bill.

Electricity providers offer a number of discounts for customers who are willing to meet various criteria There are four types of discount usually on offer:

Prompt payment discount: This is a discount of around 10% to 20% for customers who pay their power bills in full and on time

Direct debit: While less common, some NZ retailers offer a small discount of a few percent to customers who pay their bill via direct debit

Email correspondence: A small discount of about 1% to 2% may be offered to customers who receive their bills and correspondence via email

Dual fuel discount: Energy providers who supply both electricity and gas sometimes provide a bonus discount to customers who have dual accounts with them

Power masters

The great news for consumers is that the energy market in New Zealand is incredibly competitive with over 30 companies vying for customers business. This year Canstar Blue asked 4,251 customers to rate the service provided by their power company and we are delighted to reveal Powershop as this year’s Customer Satisfaction Award winner.

“This award means a lot to us because it comes directly from our customers.” said Powershop general manager, Mark Soper. “We’ve got a great local team in Masterton that work hard and over the past year we’ve done a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure we are doing the right thing by our customers”

For further information regarding this survey, please click here.


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