Feeling The Power Pinch?

Originally published September 2018

The cold hard fact … Kiwis are paying 79% more for electricity than we were in 1990. And that figure is inflation-adjusted!

Energy hardship

A government report in 2018 highlighted the skyrocketing cost of electricity in New Zealand during a commissioned electricity price review. It revealed that overall households spend less than 3 per cent of their average income on power. However, 103,000 New Zealanders are spending more than 10 per cent of their income on electricity. And if housing costs are excluded, that figure rises to 175,000. These are the people that are considered to be in “energy hardship”.

Consumer NZ said that 25,000 people had their power disconnected last year for unpaid bills, according to newshub.co.nz.

What can you do about the cost of electricity?

You could pack up and head to the bush for an off-the-grid experience, but if you prefer the comforts of home a less drastic tactic may be required.

Basically you have two choices – reduce the cost of the electrity you use or reduce the amount of electricity you consume.

Reducing the cost of the electricity requires either the installation of an alternative power source, ie solar panels or a wind turbine (which is often a costly or complicated endeavour), or shopping around for the best prices to suit your household’s energy consumption. Powerswitch is a free website service that helps you work out which power company and pricing plan is best for you.

If you’re keen to reduce the amount of electricity your household is using, try our tips to reduce your power bill. Then be prepared to remind the kids to turn off the light at least a million times!

How much are you spending on power? Is the cost getting out of control? Join our discussion in the comments below.

This article was written by Julie Scanlon, Editor for Kidspot NZ.

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  1. dawnblyth 30/09/2018 at 9:31 pm

    As a family of 4 our power costs per week vary but I put a set amount each week from my budget into our powerbill. Any not used from that weekly cost will then flow over to the next. We try to turn off any lights etc that we aren’t using and try and reduce costs where we can. Winter costs are rather high with the use of a heatpump. I try and minimise the use of our dryer by drying on clothes racks in the sun outside during the winter sun hours. – really saves on dryer usage.

  2. Alezandra 30/09/2018 at 9:13 pm

    I just couldn’t believe the statistics that 25,000 had power disconnected. Gosh! My hubby is such a good saver in terms of electricity and he always tells me how to use our energy wisely. Powerswitch was very helpful when we moved to our new home. Thanks for sharing the link for the tips too…I might look into doing these too.

  3. felicity beets 29/09/2018 at 9:17 am

    We have found that getting a new fireplace and insulating the house has meant we have had to use heaters less. It will be good to see the reduction in powerbills over the summer period.

  4. SarahBlair 26/09/2018 at 11:36 pm

    We just paid over $1000 for two months of power, our bill has never been so high, we don’t use a lot of power and its making finances extremely tight!! Im looking forward to the warmer weather and less power consumption!!

  5. Jen_Wiig 26/09/2018 at 11:25 am

    If we try reduce our power anymore we may as well go off the grid! prices are ridiculous and with only part of Aucklanders getting the vector payout for the same power it kinda sux. We use as little as possible heating and opt for extra layers and wheat bags, i created an indoor clothes line over winter in the garage and brought an egg timer for showers, so deff proactive in wanting to reduce the bill but in all honesty it has mad little difference overall. Im looking forward to summer with warmer weather and longer days which seems to be alot more kinder on the power bills thats for sure.

  6. MuddledUpMolly 25/09/2018 at 9:29 pm

    I have noticed this year in particular that our power bills have been big, for us, every month and it sucks 🙁 We have two fireplaces and the only heating applicance we used is a medium sized oil column heater in our daughter’s room which is on a timer. I still can’t figure out why it’s so high.

  7. Shelz69 17/09/2018 at 5:39 pm

    I turn appliances off at the wall this year, it seems crazy and time consuming but this is the first year I have managed to keep on top of the power bills. It has made a huge difference, and I will continue to do so. The other thing I have is an app so I can see where my power is being spent and that is quite interesting to see where the power is going and at what times during the day.

  8. Shorrty4life1 16/09/2018 at 2:09 pm

    This is a good read. I don’t pay power as we are in a boarding situation. But I still to this day do different things to save power like turn off the switches at the wall if not needed on and turn oven off at wall. All these little things can help with saving power.

  9. Bevik1971 13/09/2018 at 11:59 am

    Our power bills this year have been a lot better than previous years, this is due to the Landlord putting in a heat pump and using it properly (keeping it between 20-23 degrees and auto fan etc). Previous to this we were using oil and fan heaters and our bills were terrible! We live in Dunedin too so the winters can be really tough! We do turn everything off at the wall when we go out and when we go to bed though – the only thing running is of course the fridge and a salt lamp 🙂

  10. Mands1980 12/09/2018 at 7:26 pm

    I agree power prices have increased lots over the years we even priced out solar panals but felt the price was still very expensive and at the time they didn’t have battery back up but some are getting that now. We just couldn’t justify it maybe in the future we will but for now we are trying to turn of anything that we don’t use.

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