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Contact Empowers Kiwis To Make Positive Changes To Their Energy Habits

Data released from Contact Energy (Contact) today [Thursday 11 April] reveals the extent that Kiwis’ energy habits are changing, which could contribute to easing energy demand this winter.

Almost 100,000 New Zealand households have opted for one of Contact’s time of use plans, part of the Good Plans range, which offer free or discounted energy to reward off-peak power use and reduce the need to use fossil fuels. Since the first Good Plan was launched in 2021, Contact customers on a Good Nights or Good Weekends plan have received a combined 118 million hours of free power.

By making a small change to everyday behaviour by using energy during off-peak hours, such as at nighttime or at the weekend, Contact customers have not only saved money, but are also helping reduce pressure on the national electricity grid during times of high demand, says Contact’s Chief Retail Officer Matt Bolton.

“Kiwis are really embracing the opportunity to shift when they use the majority of their daily electricity,” says Matt. “For instance, some of our Good Nights customers have moved more than a third of their daily energy usage to the free period.”

“Customers on our Good Plans love being able to take control of their electricity usage. The power is literally in their hands to save hundreds of dollars each year, decrease demand during peak hours, and reduce our reliance on non-renewable energy generated by fossil fuels - which in turn reduces CO2 emissions.”

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Given the uptake of the Good Plans, this month Contact will begin a staged roll out of their Hot Water Sorter, a programme to switch off hot water cylinders during times of the day when there is a high demand for electricity.

This will be the largest deliberate shift in residential peak energy demand Contact has undertaken, and one of the first energy retailer-led national hot water cylinder control programmes in New Zealand.

“Heating water accounts for around 30% of a household’s energy usage. Hot water cylinders are generally powered constantly. But they do not need to be because they retain heat for long periods of time,” explains Matt.

“Turning hot water cylinders off during peak hours could take pressure off the national electricity grid, making more power available for where it is most needed. By reducing pressure at peak times, we reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

“We are aiming to have more than 10,000 households on our Hot Water Sorter by the middle of this year.”

Contact is advising eligible customers about the Hot Water Sorter programme in advance, and they can opt out if they wish. Contact undertook a large-scale trial of the programme last year, which was well received with participating customers who noted there was no difference to their hot water.

“We’ve made a promise for our energy generation operations to be Net Zero by 2035. This includes investing in more renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal, retiring our fossil fuel power stations and looking for innovative ways to capture carbon emissions from our power stations,” says Matt.

“We believe it’s important to bring our customers along this journey with us. This is why we are continuing to develop simple ways customers can choose to make a difference both on their wallet and for the planet.”

About Contact

Contact Energy is one of New Zealand’s largest energy generators and retailers. We have more than 590,000 customer connections with electricity, gas, broadband and mobile plans. We are committed to leading the decarbonisation of New Zealand, and it is our vision to create and contribute to a better place to live; from the homes and communities we live in, to the land and resources that future generations can enjoy.

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