How Electricity Apps Can Help Cut Your Power Bill

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Thanks to smart apps, it’s never been easier to manage your electricity usage and slash your power bills.

Keeping regular tabs on your electricity usage is the first step to smaller bills. Knowing when and why you’re burning through electricity gives you the insight to cut your bills. And, thanks to smartphones and apps, its never been easier to take control.

Many retailers offer electricity smartphone apps, and consumers prepared to take a proactive approach can reap the benefits.

Gaining an understanding of your patterns of usage can help in choosing the right tariff for your household. These include: fixed-price tariffs, time-of-use and spot-price tariffs. And, once you’re on a suitable plan, an app can help you use electricity in a more cost-effective way.

In this guide, we look at some of the apps on offer:

App features

The rollout of smart meters, which record your electricity usage, has provided real-time insight into electricity consumption. Retailers are harnessing this data to present customers more information about their usage.

Account management and monitoring apps place this information in the palm of your hand. They allow for on-the-go access via smartphones, both Android and iOS. Consumers should look out for the following useful features:

  • Usage – is it possible to monitor your electricity usage and costs in real time? Can usage be broken down over days, weeks and months. Is access provided to past bills and historical data?
  • Notifications – are alerts provided when new bills are issued, or with information about pricing or promotions?
  • Online chat – is there an online chat service provided for customer enquiries?
  • Forecast costs – is there a function that estimates what your costs are likely to be over a period of time?
  • Payment – can bill payments be made within the app?
  • Settings – can you make changes to your account (such as changing billing information)?

When comparing the different power apps, it’s a good idea to read their reviews first. You’ll find consumer feedback on the Google Play and App Store platforms.

Retailer app offerings

Here’s a rundown of what apps are available from NZ power companies. Just check if you need a smart meter to access the app’s functions, and if you have one fitted in your home.

Electric Kiwi

Google Play Review Rating: 4.2 Stars*

To join Electric Kiwi you need a smart meter at your address. Electric Kiwi says its app is the best way for customers to manage their accounts. It features:

  • Usage – view usage insights, including the amount of power used for the period, along with usage across days, weeks, months and the highest off-peak hour.
  • Hour of Power – customers can update their Hour of Power (60 minutes of free off-peak power per day).
  • Account details – view information about an account, get bill alerts and Hour of Power notifications.
  • Live chat – contact Electric Kiwi via its live chat service or send a message.

Flick Electric Co Logo

Flick Electric

Google Play Review Rating: 2.8 Stars

Flick Electric’s online service is designed to provide users real-time insight into power prices for their household. NB: you need a smart meter to join Flick.

The Flick app sports a range of features geared towards providing live information, including:

  • Live power prices – the live price of power for households, which changes every half hour for households on a spot price plan.
  • Account information – shows a household’s power cost for the week, along with recent bills and billing frequency (and the option to change it).
  • Alerts – sent when prices are high or low, providing a forecast price for the upcoming half-hour period.
  • Volt – open, pause and change the settings of Flick’s Volt bill payment service.
  • Choice – displays live carbon emissions information, and a personalised carbon footprint data.
  • Settings – shows notification settings, allowing users to toggle different settings.

Get a better power deal with Canstar

If you’re concerned about your power usage, consider whether you’re on the best deal for your household. Because you could be getting a better rate. Canstar rates electricity providers, so you can compare your options easily:

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

powershop logo

Powershop

Google Play Review Rating: 4.4 Stars

Powershop says its online tools and app can help customers gain an understanding of how much power they are using and when.

The Powershop app provides access to a range of features, including:

  • Usage – allows customers to access their daily usage, with a daily usage graph showing the average dollar cost per day and kWh of power used each day.
  • Activity tracker – allows users to add notes to their daily usage graph, explaining variations in power usage.
  • Insights graph – shows the monthly cost of power.
  • Shopping – allows customers to shop for Powerpacks, available in varying sizes and costs.
  • Notifications – for customers with access to the shop, sending an alert whenever a new special arrives.

Energy Online

Google Play Review Rating: 3.1 Stars

Energy Online advises that once customers have registered for its MyAccount online service, they can then download the Energy Online app.

The Energy Online app provides customers a variety of features, including:

  • Usage – displays graphs of current and past usage.
  • Estimate costs – delivers an estimate as to how much a customer’s next electricity bill will be.
  • Payment – pay an energy bill via credit or debit card.
  • LPG – sign up for LPG bottled gas and order replacement bottles.

Genesis Energy

Google Play Review Rating: 4.6 Stars

Genesis Energy says that its Energy IQ app allows customers to forecast, monitor and compare their energy use.

The Energy IQ app delivers customers features (dependent on meter type and other factors) including:

  • Home comparison – compares power use to other similar homes.
  • Electricity forecast – predicts how much energy a household will use, up to a week ahead.
  • Usage breakdown – provides an estimate of how much energy a customer is using in their home, such as on heating, hot water and lighting.
  • Bottled gas monitoring – lets customers know how much gas they have remaining in their 45 kg bottles, and when to order a refill.

Meridian

Google Play Review Rating: 2.6 Stars

Although it offers an app, Meridian states: “The app isn’t quite ready for all customers, so your current account details might not log you in. We’ll let you know when you have access, so if you haven’t heard from us, hold tight and we’ll be in touch soon.” It’s not the most reassuring message, but if you can get it to work it offers features, including:

  • Usage – check your power usage hour by hour.
  • Bill forecast – see how much you’re spending.

Slingshot logo

Slingshot

Google Play Review Rating: 3.6 Stars

Slingshot boasts that their app allows you to do everything you can do on their website… then adds the caveat: “well, nearly”. For some of the functionality isn’t built into the app. As with other apps here, such as Mercury’s, for some services, like paying bills, it links through to the main website.

Among its features, it offers:

  • Usage info – view your power usage (also phone and data if you have a bundle).
  • Bills – ability to view invoices, pay bills via credit card and change or set up payment methods.
  • Account – make changes and upgrades to your account and services.
  • Help – request a call back from the Slingshot team.

trustpower electricity logo

Trustpower

Google Play Review Rating: 2.9 Stars

The Trustpower Mobile App covers all its offerings: power, gas and broadband, so you can keep tabs on them all from the one app.

Among its features, it offers:

  • Usage info – see your power, broadband and gas usage and history.
  • Bills – ability to view invoices, pay bills via credit card or bank transfer and set up direct debits.
  • Account – make changes and upgrades to your account and services.
  • Order – top up your broadband data allowance and order LPG bottles.
  • Help – access FAQs and give feedback via the app.

 

Contact

Google Play Review Rating: 4.3 Stars

A standard, no-frills offering that allows you to track your usage and bills.

Among its features, it offers:

  • Usage info – see your power usage and history for the past 15 months.
  • Bills – make one-off credit or debit card payments, or from your bank account with Account2Account, plus set up direct debits.
  • Account – make changes to your contact and account details.

 

nova energy logo

Nova Energy

Google Play Review Rating: 1.5 Stars

Through the Nova Energy app you can manage all your bundled utilities: power, gas and broadband.

Among its features, it offers:

  • Notifications – reminders about your bills.
  • Usage – view your daily electricity and/or gas and broadband usage.
  • Bills – pay your bill by credit card or online eftpos, plus set up direct debits.

 

mercury energy logo yellow

Mercury Energy

Google Play Review Rating: 4 Stars

Undoubtedly the fanciest app from an electricity provider in NZ, the Mercury app not only gives you control over your account, but allows you to earn rewards.

Among its features, it offers:

  • Usage – check your monthly, daily and hourly electricity usage.
  • Bills – pay your bill by credit card or set up direct debits.
  • Account – make changes to your contact and account details.
  • Rewards – earn Mercury Dollars for bill credits or Airpoints dollars by completing challenges, such as taking photos, referring friends or taking part in walking step challenges.

Overall Google Play App Ratings*

Electricity Provider Google Play Review Rating
Genesis Energy 4.6 Stars
Powershop 4.4 Stars
Contact 4.3 Stars
Electric Kiwi 4.2 Stars
Mercury Energy 4 Stars
Slingshot 3.6 Stars
Energy Online 3.1 Stars
Trust Power 2.9 Stars
Flick Electric 2.8 Stars
Meridian 2.6 Stars
Nova Energy 1.5 Stars

* All Google Play review ratings scored out of five, and current as of 16/9/2020

If all this talk of electricity has left you wondering if you’re paying too much for your power, Canstar compares electricity providers in NZ. To check you’re with the best provider, just click the button below:

Compare electricity providers for free with Canstar!

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