Simple Guide to Finding the Cheapest Power Deals

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How easy is it to find the cheapest electricity to power your home? Easy as, if you follow our simple guide to finding the cheapest power deals!

At Canstar Blue, our mission is to help consumers discover the best deals. But sniffing out the best power deals can seem complicated. To start with there are so many different power companies: 13 in Canstar Blue’s most recent ratings. And they all offer different deals!

Then there is the issue of working out your power needs and deciphering your bill: what’s the difference between variable and fixed charges and electricity authority levies? In all, it can seem too complicated. But it doesn’t have to be a big deal to find a great deal.

All you need to do is find your latest power bill and you’re away. Here’s what you need to know to explore if you can save big on your power bill:

Step 1 to the cheapest power deals

Grab your latest bill. There are only two main charges you need to concentrate on:

  • Fixed charges – these are displayed as cents or dollars per day. You are charged this fixed rate each day, regardless of how much power you use
  • Variable charges – the cost of the power you’ve used, based on consumption in kilowatts per hours (kWh)

Your bill should also include a charge for the Electricity Authority levy. This charge funds the government agency’s work to regulate the electricity industry, and is usually based on how much power you use. But don’t include it in your calculations, as it’s not relevant to an individual electricity provider’s power deals.

Step 2 to the cheapest power deals

Once you can see how much you are paying in fixed and variable charges, it’s an easy step to jump online and get comparing different power companies and the deals they’re offering.

A good place to start is Canstar’s most recent review of electricity providers, which you can find here, as it lists all the big players in the market. Most retailers have websites that allow you to compare their plans according to your address.

All you need to do is some simple arithmetic, comparing the total cost of your variable and fixed rate charges on your bill with your current provider against what’s on offer from a competitor. For example:

Current power deal

Variable

675kWh x $0.29

= $195.75

Fixed

30 Days x $0.35

= $10.5

Total = $206.25

Competitor’s power deal

Variable

675kWh x $0.27

= $182.25

Fixed

30 Days x $0.33

= $9.90

Total = $192.15

The above figures are based on some actual figures from different power companies and a real power bill from one of the Canstar Blue team for September 2020. As you can see, they could have saved over $14 with a different power company.

When doing your own calculations, just remember GST. It’s not included as standard in all listed prices. If you include it in one company’s prices and not another’s it can heavily skew the results. Well, by 15%!

Other things to consider

Off-peak usage

Cheaper off-peak electricity isn’t available everywhere, or offered by all retailers. Typically offered overnight and at weekends, it can save you money if you can adapt your home’s energy usage to fit in around the off-peak times.

Fixed contracts

By signing up to 12- or 24-month contracts you can usually secure a cheaper price. Although be aware that break fees will apply if you need to end your power contract early.

Bundle deals

You can often save heaps on your power if you bundle it with either gas or broadband. For more information check out our story Bundle and Save with the Best Broadband Bundles. And check out our dual-fuel Star Ratings for the best in bundled gas and electricity.

Special offers

If you’re switching power companies, it always pays to factor in any special offers attached to the deal you’re being offered. While whiteware, electrical goods, reward points or offers of cash might seem appealing, there can often be a catch. As the old saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. So check the cash value of any reward against the cost of the power plan it’s tied to.


If you’ve reached the end of this story, it’s clear that you’re interested in finding a better power deal. And, as we mention above, a great place to start is checking out Canstar’s latest Star Awards, which rate NZ power companies for customer satisfaction and value for money. See the table below for some of the results, or 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 Power Companies

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