The electricity industry is under intense scrutiny for what appears to be a fairly blatant grab at consumers’ cash in recent years. There was last month’s Electricity Authority report that suggested householders were getting overcharged to the tune of $200 a year. There are promises of reform from the Government. But there is also a sense of ennui. The industry has been under scrutiny for years – so when will change actually come?
We have good news. For consumers, change can come … now. We have the power! Forgive the bad pun, hear me out.
Take an hour or so today to run the ruler over your own electricity bill. Are you on the right plan? Are you taking advantage of the incentives offered? Below, we’ve outlined some ways you can cut your costs, and now. No need to wait for the Government to create change in the industry.
How to save on electricity
- Check Canstar’s ratings and tips for cheaper electricity. Each year, Canstar researches the retail electricity industry to find the provider with the most satisfied customers. This provider wins our Most Satisfied Customers Award. As part of the research, consumers rate their providers on a range of factors, including value for money, customer service, and focus on environmental sustainability. This can be particularly informative for customers who have particular needs, such as high levels of customer service.
- Have a look at your bill. On every bill, there are details of the tariff you are on. Check it using online tools to ensure you’re on the right one for your usage – or call your provider and ask. This could be an easy switch that could save you a tonne of cash.
- Consider the energy efficiency of your home. Do you have insulation installed right through the house? Do your windows and doors close properly to keep in the heat? How do you use your home’s rooms in the evening to ensure energy is used efficiently?
- Think about what uses the most electricity in your home – for most of us, it’s water heating followed by electrical appliances – and figure if there are ways to minimise usage, for example by having shorter showers, installing a more efficient showerhead or taking fewer baths.
- Consider the energy ratings of your appliances and if you need to update them to ensure greater savings going forward. In the meantime, run the likes of dishwashers on eco settings.
What incentives are on offer?
There are also incentives offered by several of the electricity providers which may particularly suit your home or lifestyle. For example:
Canstar’s 2021 Electricity Provider of the Year, offers $150 in free power for the first year, and $100 power credit for each friend you bring on board. So how about shaking together a posse to take advantage of the referral benefits? Your mates really could be paying for your power.
Electric Kiwi offers a free ‘Hour of Power’ at off-peak times. Setting the free ‘Hour of Power’ for, say, 6am can be used as an incentive to get up early and get chores like washing done early in the morning. Electric Kiwi has also just launched its MoveMaster campaign, which offers benefits for off-peak hours, but also makes the point that using electricity during such times lessens carbon emissions.
→ Related article: Electric Kiwi’s New MoveMaster Plan: Is It Right for You?
Mercury’s app allows you to earn points through challenges such as daily steps, which then offset against your power bill. The app won one of Canstar’s Innovation awards for 2021, with the judges remarking on how fun and easy to use it was. Plus, it saves money!
As you can see, taking a little bit of time now to run a quick audit on your electricity plan, provider and usage will likely have significant benefits for you.
Waiting for the slow wheels of industry and Government to grind on could be costing each of us hundreds each year. The sector is facing a plethora of issues, including those identified in the Electricity Authority Report and bigger picture challenges, such as the pressures of climate change and the desperate need to shift to cleaner energy. The matrix is complex!
But there are some simple truths in all of this. Prices have been higher than they need to be. And you have the power to make a change, now.
Shop around for the best deals
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.
^ By clicking on a brand or 'details' button, you will leave Canstar Blue and be taken to either a product provider website or a Canstar Blue NZ brand page. You agree that Canstar Blue NZ’s terms and conditions apply (without limitation) to your use of this service,to any referral to a product provider from our website, and any transaction that follows. Canstar Blue may receive a fee for referring you to a product provider. See How we are funded for further details.
Canstar Blue NZ Research finalised in April 2021, published in June 2021.
See Our Ratings Methodology
About the author of this page
Jose George is Country Manager for Canstar New Zealand. Jose has a strong understanding of NZ’s financial system, and a successful track record in banking and financial services. Before joining Canstar, he worked in senior positions in the cards and payments industry, at American Express and at three of the Big Four banks: ANZ, ASB and Westpac.