We’re coming into winter, and naturally your power use goes up as you turn on all the things to combat the cold.
Before that happens, we're getting you prepped with some hot tips on how to save energy and make sure you're not paying more for your power than you should be. Think of it as a power health check (but without the cold stethoscope).
Plus, if you love a freebie (and let's be honest, who doesn't), all through June we'll be keeping our Flick whānau warm and toasty with winter prize giveaways and power credits each week. Keep an eye on our Facebook page to get yourself in the draw.
What goes into my bill?
Your power bill is made up of a number of charges from a number of companies including generators, your local lines company, the company that provides the meter on your house, and your retailer (that’s us!). There’s also the Electricity Authority levy (which is the same for everyone), and GST.
What else? Your pricing plan can impact on the cost of your power bill, too, but no matter which pricing plan you're on, your bill will be heavily influenced by how much power you use. That's because usage, or consumption, is dynamic and hugely dependent on that one thing none of us can control: the weather. And the chilly temperatures and darker days of the winter months usually mean we're inside more, and using more power to stay warm and dry.
Shift your use, maximise your savings
Y’all know that we’re all about putting you in control of your power here at Flick, so we thought it was worth reminding you about off-peak pricing that might be available in your neck of the woods.
It's offered by some network companies around Aotearoa to encourage users to change the times of day they use their electricity, and help minimise pressure on the national grid at high-demand times. If there's an off-peak plan available in your area, you'll have access to it with Flick. Yeow!
How much is it worth? In Christchurch the difference between peak and off-peak rates is a whopping 13 c/kWh. Shifting just a little really can go a long way! You can also check in the app at anytime to find out when off-peak prices apply. If you're unsure about if you have time-of-use plans in your area, check out your regional pricing schedules.
Am I on the right plan?
Pre-winter is the perfect time to check you're on the right user plan for your household's situation.
Distribution companies charge different metering rates for Low Users and Standard Users of electricity to make sure there’s a fair spread of cost amongst users.
If you're on the wrong plan and using alot more or less power than the plan's threshold, it can mean you end up paying more for your power than you should be. Have a read of What's Your User Plan, Stan and make sure you're on the right track!
We reckon all Kiwis should be on the fairest power deal, full stop. It shouldn’t be up to you to save energy to make a regular bill affordable.
That said, for most of us the winter months go hand in hand with an increase in power usage, and that also means higher power bills. So, it’s always worthwhile having some energy savings tips up your sleeve to keep those sky-high bills in check (and help to conserve Aotearoa's overall power use while you're at it!).
How energy hungry are different appliances?
Our appliances make up a big part of our bills. Hot water cylinders make up 28% of all power bills (according to EECA)! That’s some serious power hunger. But different appliances have a different impact on your bill, so knowing how much each appliance costs can help you save some moolah.
LED bulbs are worth their weight in gold
Nervous about the long winter nights eating into your lighting budget? Energy efficient lightbulbs can slash 85% of a household’s lighting costs - around $400 per year, or 20% of the average household’s total electricity cost!
LED bulbs also have an estimated 10 year life so the savings really add up over time.
Just changing a few bulbs in the house can make all the difference - read more over on the EECA energy efficent light bulbs tool here.
Dinner time? Slow and steady wins the race
Cooktops are some of the most power hungry units - they use on average 1.7 units of power per half hour. That's nothing to scoff at! The good news is that you've got an alternative - the humble slow cooker.
A slow cooker uses on average a teeny tiny 0.043 units of power every half hour. To put that in perspectve, you'd need to use it for a whopping 19 hours to match the cooktop's half hour. Considering that most slow cooker recipes are around 6-8 hours - baby, you got a stew going.
Holy heck, heat pump over heater any day!
We all know that the basic heaters are a bit of a money-sink: the average fan heater is 1.2 units every half hour. That's why, if you have the choice, use your heat pump! For that same half hour, you'll only use 0.5 units of power!
You can read more about heat pumps, and what yours might cost, over on the EECA website.
Drip dry or tumble dry? Drip, drip, drip.
The clothes dryer. While it makes all those sheets feel warm, it can be a bit of a drain on the bill. Sitting at an average 0.875 units per half hour, and typically taking 1-2 hours to run, it can start to stack up!
Instead, why not give the good old fashioned washing line a spin? Get the washing machine running overnight, and hang it up bright and early in the morning! By the time you come home for your stew, those sheets will be crisp and clean.
Can I make my winter bills more predictable?
Your niece came to stay and used all the hot water (half hour showers, Jeanie, really?!)? We know that sometimes life happens, and you’ll have higher bills that no amount of energy savings tips can help - that's why Volt is on hand to help keep your bills sailing smoothly.
When you set up your Volt, you’ll choose an amount that you’d like to round your power bills up to. When your power bills are lower than that amount, the difference will top up your Volt credit and, over time, build up a stash of cash that you can put towards any higher-than-usual bills.
When Jeanie's antics push the bill above the Volt threshold, we dip into your Volt to help out! And you can pause it anytime.
Want to know more? Check out how Sophie was able to create the ultimate in bill predictability with her flatties here!