How Much Are You Paying For Power? Average Electricity Costs per kWh in NZ

The size of your power bill isn’t just about how much electricity you use. The region in which you live also plays a big part. Canstar explores the differences in electricity prices around Aotearoa.

We all rely on electricity in our day-to-day lives. But whether it’s to watch TV, run the heat pump, or put on a load of washing – you’re adding to your power bill.

The overall cost of your electricity is broken down into two main parts. You pay for the actual electricity you use, plus a fee for the upkeep of the power grid that delivers that juice into your home.

Nationally, for the average power consumer (four-person family), using 22kWh per day on the cheapest low-user tariff available without a fixed-term contract, this works out at around 31c per kWh.

However, depending on where you live in the country, this can vary between as low as 26c to nearly 42c per kWh.

Of course, you can’t do much about where you live, apart from move. So keeping on top of your usage charges is essential if you want to reduce your power bill. That’s why it’s important to do your research to find a good deal on the power you use.

But what exactly does a good rate look like in your area? In this article, we break down the average electricity costs by kWh and line fees region to region, and provides tips on how to find a great deal.


How Much Are You Paying For Power? Average Electricity Costs per kWh in NZ. In this article we cover:


Power prices per kWh

The price you pay for electricity largely depends on your energy distributor – the company responsible for maintaining the poles and wires that transport power to your home. There are over 30 distributors in New Zealand, each operating in different areas. While some regions have only a single or a few electricity retailers to choose from, urban areas will have more electricity retailers competing for your custom. The table below shows the average regional rates for electricity across New Zealand.

 Location

Average cost per kWh

Greymouth

23.7c
Tauranga

23.5c

Westport

23.1c

Balclutha

22.8c
Blenhiem

22.2c

Taupo

21.9c
Nelson

21.9c

Hawera

21.7c
Rotorua

21.6c

Whanganui

21.5c
Thames

21.4c

Masterton

21.2c
Ashburton

21.2c

Cambridge

20.9c
Gisborne

20.7c

Whangarei

20.6c
New Plymouth

20.4c

Palmerston North

20.2c

Kerikeri

20.1c
Hamilton

20c

Otorohanga

19.9c
Taumaranui

19.9c

Richmond

19.7c
Timaru

19.7c

NZ Average

19.5c
Oamaru

19.4c

Napier

19.1c
Waipukurau

19.1c

Dannevirke

19.1c
Cromwell

19c

Auckland North Shore

18.8c

Whakatane

18.8c
Wellington City

18.8c

Christchurch

18.7c
Invercargill

18.7c

Winton

18.6c
Queenstown

18.4c

Auckland Central

18.2c
Pukekohe

18.2c

Rangiora

18c

Paraparaumu

17.7c

Kaiapoi

17.4c

Dunedin

17c

Data: www.mbie.govt.nz Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices, May 2021.

As you can see, the rate you pay for electricity varies considerably depending on your region. While you might not think a few cents makes much difference, the costs add up over a year – especially for households using plenty of electricity.

Related article: Simple Guide to Finding the Cheapest Power Deals

Lines vs energy component

While there’s not much variance in the cost of the electricity we consume, from 17c to 24c around the country, there’s a far greater disparity in the prices we pay for the line component of our power bills.

In Kerikeri, for example, 21.7c goes towards line component costs, whereas consumers in Ashburton pay only 6.9c. That’s quite a difference.

Location

Average line fee

Kerikeri

21.7c

Waipukurau

18.5c

Balclutha

18c
Westport

16.6c

Otorohanga

15.2c
Taumaranui

15.2c

Dannevirke

15.1c
Blenhiem

14.8c

Winton

14.4c
Cromwell

14.3c

Gisborne

14.2c
Pukekohe

13.3c

Greymouth

13.3c
Whakatane

12.5c

Hawera

12.3c
Masterton

12.3c

Paraparaumu

12.3c
Rangiora

12.1c

Kaiapoi

12.1c

Whangarei

12c
Napier

12c

Thames

11.4c
NZ Average

11.3c

Timaru

11.2c

Auckland North Shore

11.1c

Auckland Central

11.1c

Rotorua

11.1c
Taupo

11.1c

Oamaru

10.8c
Tauranga

10.7c

Hamilton

10.6c
Queenstown

10.3c

New Plymouth

10.2c
Whanganui

10.2c

Palmerston North

10.2c
Wellington City

10.2c

Christchurch

10.1c
Richmond

9.5c

Dunedin

9.3c
Invercargill

9.1c

Cambridge

8.9c
Nelson

8.5c

Ashburton

6.9c

Data: www.mbie.govt.nz Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices, May 2021.

Total costs

When you add the two sets of prices listed above together, the line charges and energy costs, you get an overall picture of the cost of electricity around the country. And, as you can see, there’s a big difference between living in Dunedin (26.36c per kWh) and Kerikeri (41.81c per kWh)

Total retail cost per kWh

Kerikeri

41.81c
Balclutha

40.8c

Westport

39.66c
Waipukurau

37.62c

Greymouth

36.98c
Blenhiem

36.91c

Otorohanga

35.1c
Taumaranui

35.1c

Gisborne

34.96c
Dannevirke

34.19c

Tauranga

34.18c
Hawera

33.93c

Masterton

33.45c
Cromwell

33.32c

Taupo

32.95c
Winton

32.94c

Thames

32.79c
Rotorua

32.73c

Whangarei

32.58c
Whanganui

31.64c

Pukekohe

31.47c
Whakatane

31.34c

Napier

31.11c
Timaru

30.88c

NZ Average

30.8c
Hamilton

30.62c

New Plymouth

30.55c
Nelson

30.44c

Palmerston North

30.39c
Oamaru

30.23c

Rangiora

30.01c
Auckland North Shore

29.99c

Paraparaumu

29.98c

Cambridge

29.81c

Kaiapoi

29.47c

Auckland Central

29.34c

Richmond

29.16c

Wellington City

28.96c

Christchurch

28.74c
Queenstown

28.73c

Ashburton

28.11c
Invercargill

27.78c

Dunedin

26.36c

Data: www.mbie.govt.nz Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices, May 2021.

Low users vs standard users

While most Kiwi homes are standard electricity users, rather than low, it’s worth understanding the difference between the two. For if you are a low user, you could save considerably on your power bill.

To be classified as a standard user, you must use more than 8000 kWh per year at your home if you live in the North Island, or more than 9000 kWh if you live down the bottom of the South Island, where winters are colder.

  • Standard user plans: higher daily charge and a lower variable electricity usage charge
  • Low user plans: lower daily charge and a higher variable electricity usage charge

Standard users pay daily fixed charges anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50 per day; low users are usually only charged 30c to 40c per day.

Low-user plans are ideal for people who use gas for their hot water, cooking and heating their homes, and are not running a Bitcoin mining factory out of their garage!

How often do electricity rates change?

It’s most common for electricity rates to change just once every 12 months. Some retailers do this on a by-customer basis, changing individual rates on the anniversary of sign-up. Other retailers apply a customer-wide rate change on a set date.

In most situations, your energy company needs to give you advanced notice that they’re changing your rates, allowing you to switch retailers if you’re unhappy with the price change.

Some retailers offer what is called a fixed rate plan. These deals essentially stop your rates from changing for a period of time – usually two years.

While the initial variable rate may be slightly higher than standard deals, you can potentially save in the long term by sheltering yourself from electricity price increases. Only the variable rate charge is frozen, however, so any change to the daily fixed charge or Electricity Authority levy (see below) will be passed on to the customer.

Related article: Fixed-Rate Power Plans: the Pros and Cons

Understanding what you pay

Discovering exactly how much you’re paying for your electricity, shouldn’t be tricky. Your daily fixed charge rate and your total variable usage charge should be clearly shown on your bill. Along with a small Electricity Authority levy, which goes towards running the government agency.

But it certainly pays to do your research, compare energy companies and shop around.

To find the rates of an electricity retailer, visit their website and look for a pricing section. Most retailers require you to insert an address, though some just need to know your general area to give you an idea of your rates.

Be conscious of a few traps, so ask yourself some of the following questions when comparing rates:

  • Do these prices include GST?
  • How frequently do rates change?
  • What type of tariff is this?
  • Does this retailer offer discounts?
  • Are there additional fees?
  • Does this contract lock me in?
  • Are there any additional perks?

Finding the best kWh price for power?

The fact that you’re reading this means that you’re already on the right track to finding a great deal on power. But when comparing power companies, it’s important to consider the broader picture – don’t become too focused on finding a deal with a big prompt payment discount or special perk. Be sure to balance all the rates, discounts, fees and contract periods when making a decision, as well as more personal factors, such as customer service and support.

To help you find the best value electricity retailer, Canstar rates NZ power companies for customer satisfaction and value for money, see the table below for some of the results, or you can click on the button below for the full results of our survey.

Canstar Blue’s latest review of NZ power companies compares them on customer satisfaction. The table below is an abridged version of our full results, available here.


See Our Ratings Methodology

Compare electricity providers for free with Canstar!

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