Note: The following information is intended as a rough guide only. For financial advice, please seek out the help from a registered financial advisor.
The worst part about overpaying for power is that many Kiwis don’t even realise they’re overpaying!
It’s okay, we know the power bill isn’t exactly the most interesting part of your month, but for many it’s simply an expense that gets paid and never thought about again.
But what about when money is fairly tight, and every dollar really matters? That’s most of us, let’s be honest. Paying too much for power, whether it’s your per kilowatt hour (kw/hr) rate or simply your usage level, racks up cost that could simply be used better elsewhere.
It’s not until you start monitoring and then actively working on saving power, that you realise just how much money can be overspent. So what else could you do instead of overpaying for power?
1. Reduce your daily power usage with some easy habit changes
The best place to start is with your own usage behaviour at home. And if you’re a family, get everyone involved to understand where the big energy usage might be happening, and whether those activities could be managed a bit better. Here’s where you can start:
- Showers - what temperature and duration is sensible?
- Cooking time - can this be reduced by say, combined dishes at once, or moving some meals to non-cook or BBQ based?
- Heating - can the heating appliance(s) be set on timer to start and stop, maintaining comfort in the home without running continuously
- Does heating need to be on a high setting, or is a mild temperature just as effective?
- Lighting habits - switching off when leaving an empty room.
- Do the clothes need to go through the dryer, or is the weather good enough to dry clothes outside in natural fresh air?
There’s a lot of other things around the home that draw power if usage isn’t sensible. That’s why we’ve created our in depth Saving Electricity guide. In this section, we’ve outlined useful tips for reducing power in the home, school, work as well as providing resources on the usage of particular appliances. Simply removing a few appliances out of daily use could make a noticeable impact.
Reducing your power usage can be a bit of an adjustment, and sometimes households simply have larger demands on power - particularly larger families. Keep reading for some useful advice about your plan and retailer options.
2. Incorporate solar energy into your home
If you live in a part of Aotearoa that enjoys a lot of sun, solar power could be an option worth exploring. By capturing the energy from the sun’s light, you can transfer this into usable electricity for the home, and even store it with a battery if the potential savings make sense to do so.
Solar power is excellent because it’s clean and green - no one on earth is responsible for its generation, and it’ll be around for a long time yet (ideally). A solar power set up can knock a significant chunk off your standard grid power bill, and you can even sell your energy back into the grid with some retailers (like Powershop).
For more information about solar energy, check out our full guide.
3. Free up budget for other essentials
Instead of overpaying for power, use that budget for other things that matter more than a 20 minute shower or constant oven baked food. It might sound hard to believe, but habits and the right power plan can free up plenty of extra money for groceries, internet, phone, rent, mortgage, petrol, car, public transport… the list goes on. There is no reason to simply accept a power bill that is much larger than it should be, when other life admin demands a decent chunk of your income.
4. Put money aside for the kids’ activities
If you’ve got children, you’ll know that it’s not a cheap process. Every stage there’s new expenses, whether it’s baby equipment or football boots. By saving just $20 a week on power, you’ll soon have a kitty together to fund an extracurricular expense, or even put that money towards tuition or membership fees. Why spend needless money with a power company when it’d be so much better used keeping the kids busy?
5. Put that extra money not wasted on power into savings
Saving can be really tricky - there’s no shortage of bills each month for most of us in NZ. But if we’ve already managed to budget our necessities and nice to haves and then reduce our power usage, there could be a surplus to squirrel away into savings for a rainy day. Just think about it like this, if you saved $20 a week on power from your average bill, that’s $1,040 a year and $10,400 every 10 years - and we’re not even considering if that was invested.
This is a good way of illustrating the reason we should care about small savings - because little amounts of a long time make these big savings. Imagine being able to buy a decent second hand car every 10 years, all because you adjusted usage and power plan to reduce your costs. May as well, right?
6. Go to a live event
Provided we’re able to do so, hit up a rugby game or a live music gig locally with that extra you’ll save. And when you’re out of the house, you can be confident that there’s not going to be any spike in power usage. Ever noticed how when you’re on holiday your power bill is much nicer to look at? You’ll still see a baseline of power usage for things that run constantly such as the fridge. If you’re overpaying significantly with power, you could potentially be enjoying a couple of nights out at no extra expense to your current budget, simply by making some smart changes! In Winter, these savings really start to make sense! Just in time for the All Blacks season.
7. Go out to dinner
So you’ve taken the steps to save electricity and you’re seeing a difference in your monthly bill. We think you deserve to celebrate. Heading out for a meal has the added bonus of knowing you won’t be using power hungry appliances in the process. Of course, eating out isn’t going to be better on the wallet every night - there are far more cost effective ways to reduce cooking power while staying at home, but if you’re the type that enjoys having a night off, a reduced power bill might free up the funds to do just that.
8. Switch to a plan and retailer that saves you money
So, instead of overpaying for power, why not jump online and start doing some research about power retailers and the plans available? With Powershop, you can get a savings estimate by uploading a power bill from your current retailer. Our team will then assess the bill and get in touch with an estimate on what you could save by choosing us.
We offer things like the Shop, where you can pre buy packs of power, saving you in the long run. If you want to know more about how to compare different power companies, head over to our Compare Power guide.