Power prices have been on just about everybody’s mind. Prices have soared, homes have been plunged into darkness and the Electrical Authority is conducting a review of the wholesale market amid claims of a lack of competition. You’d be forgiven for thinking good news and power just don’t mix.
But that could be about to change. Contact Energy has unveiled its new Good Nights plan, offering Kiwis three whole hours of free power every night! Canstar Blue takes a look into exactly what’s on offer, and how it compares with other providers.
What is the Good Nights plan?
The Good Nights plan is a new power plan from Contact Energy. It offers three hours of free power, every night, between 9pm and midnight.
There are no restrictions on your power usage during this period, meaning you can run your heating, take hot showers, wash some laundry and do any other energy-sucking chores of your choosing.
Let’s talk specifics
The Good Nights plan is a fixed-rate plan being offered by Contact Energy.
This means it is not a free add-on to an existing plan. And, if you’re an existing Contact Energy customer, you’ll not automatically be switched over to the Good Nights plan. You can, however, make the switch to the new plan yourself.
Some things to consider with the Good Nights plan are:
- Fixed-term rates
- Broadband bundles
- Smart meter eligibility
Fixed-term rates mean that you’ll get the security of knowing how much your power will cost, but you also won’t get to take advantage of any dips in power prices. On the other hand, you also won’t suffer at the hands of rising prices. Being locked in until November 2022, it’s hard to know what power prices will do in that time.
There are fees for breaking your contract early, so if power prices plunge you may face a tough decision to either stay at a higher rate or cough up the fine.
Almost, free power.
The New Zealand Electricity Authority (EA) regulates the electricity industry. It charges power companies a levy to cover its costs. Power companies then pass this charge over to you, and it is included as part of your power bill.
While your power will be free from 9 pm to midnight, you will still pay the EA levy, meaning there will still be a small cost. The cost of the power itself is free, but there is still some cost to use the free power.
Bundle your broadband
Add unlimited broadband to your power plan for just $69.99 a month. This could be another great way to bring down the cost of not only your power but broadband too.
A smart meter is a smart idea.
Smart meters offer updates on your power usage every half-hour and are a great way to help manage your power usage.
And not only are they handy for everyday budgeting, but in order to be eligible for the Good Nights plan, you’ll also need one at your home. This is because for Contact Energy to bill you correctly, they need to know how much power is being used at what time. Many homes already have these meters installed, but if you’re unsure, you can check here.
How can I get make the most of free power?
While three free hours of power are great, the time you use them can’t be changed. This means you have to make your schedule work around the plan, not the other way around. Some great tips for making the most from your free power hours are:
Shift to save
Move as much of your energy use as you can. Keep showers, washing machines and dryers, the dishwasher and heating off until after 9 pm.
Keep in mind that the free power does not cover gas. Waiting until 9 pm to cook over a gas stove isn’t going to save you any cash. Neither is waiting to shower if your water is heated by gas.
An eye on the time
Many household appliances have timers, allowing you to schedule their schedules. Even if you aren’t home during these hours, set timers so your appliances don’t start until your free power does.
If you have electric vehicles and scooters, what better time to give them a charge, so they are ready for you in the morning?
How does the Good Nights plan compare?
Free power is a great bonus and can lead to some serious savings. But before you jump into Contact Energy’s new plan, it pays to have a look at what other free power deals are out there.
Electric Kiwi Hour of Power
Electric Kiwi currently has an hour of power promotion, providing you with one off-peak hour of power per day. This hour is customisable, allowing you to choose any time between 9am – 5pm and 9pm – 7am. This means you can make your hour of power fit around your schedule, which could be a great option for those who aren’t be able to get much from the later hours on offer from Contact Energy.
You can also change your designated hour whenever you want, meaning if you have something on that will alter your schedule for the day, you can easily shift your free hour to match!
Powershop Free Weekends
New customers who sign up with Powershop can get free power weekends! Powershop have teamed up with Manchester Unity to offer free power during the first weekend of every month, for the first 12 months of your contract.
So from 12 am Saturday – 11:59 pm Sunday, you can get all your energy-sucking chores done.
→ Related article: New Zealand’s Favourite Power Provider: Powershop
Shop around for the best deals
While free power can be a great option for those looking to save on power, it’s not all to consider. If you’re paying higher rates on power than everyone else, those free hours start to look less appealing. Beyond just prices and fees it’s important to consider how easy the billing process is or the level of customer service offered.
Ultimately, finding affordable power involves shopping around. And to help you find the best value electricity retailer, Canstar Blue 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.
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Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2022, published in June 2022.
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About the author of this page
This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.