See how much you could save on power. Upload a recent bill and get a free estimate.

See how much you could save on power. Upload a recent bill and get a free estimate.

If you aren’t sure how a power company works, we won’t take it personally. Electricity isn’t exactly like groceries or clothes – it slips under the radar and is usually top of mind when your bill is higher than expected or there’s an outage.

Our job as a power company includes a few key functions to keep you happy and connected. Here are just some of them!

Arrange connections nationwide

Each region has its own lines company and council. A retailer will help arrange new connections on behalf of new customers if they haven’t yet had this organised. More commonly however, is the switching of power retailers that New Zealand homes do each day. A retailer handles the admin of assigning a new supplier (ourselves) to an existing ICP (installation control point). 

This information is managed on the Electricity Authority’s Electricity Registry. At any point in time there’s a clear record of which power connection is assigned with a particular retailer. The retailer then associates this ICP with their customer you!

Buy and sell power generated in New Zealand 

Your power goes through quite a journey before it gets to your TV or oven. The process involves various stages including generation (such as a hydro dam), transmission across the national grid into power stations, then distribution through the lines company to homes and businesses. 

A retailer’s role is to buy this energy at the ‘wholesale price’ that accounts for generation and transmission, and package this up into a consumer-facing utility to buy. As the retailer, we’ve got the ability to offer particular rates and plans to suit NZ’s electricity needs. The rates are dictated in part by the cost to purchase energy wholesale, although each power company structures this a bit differently. 

Hydro station in New Zealand

Factors such as retail operations, customer service, marketing, and profit margins influence the rates and plans offered by retailers. This variety in pricing enables competition in the electricity market and provides consumers with a range of options to choose from.

Provide information about your usage

If you’ve ever received a larger-than-expected power bill and wanted answers, you may have seen a power retailer account screen or dashboard before. As your usage is metered and charged based on the details of your plan, electricity retailers can offer useful insights into when spikes occurred and other patterns over a longer period. The information you can access will depend on each retailer, but at a minimum you should be able to find out how many kWh were used on a day, by the hour.

Retailers may offer alert features to keep you informed about your electricity usage. The most common are email or app push notifications around a usage/billing threshold that’s been exceeded, to keep you aware of usage during the month. 

Find a better plan for your needs

Everyone has their own unique household habits and schedule. From a single person retiree to large flat of uni students, power consumption varies from home to home. Depending on the power company there are different plans that determine how much you pay for power during times of day, or within other thresholds like average annual usage. 

It’s not uncommon for retailers to introduce new plans over time, while long term customers remain on ‘legacy’ plans. One of the roles of a retailer is to help customers find the optimal plan for their household’s energy demands - ideally in the name of bringing the average bill down. 

 Saving on power

Answer customer questions

Whether it’s a call about usage, planning a move to a new home, or help getting around the customer dashboard, customer service is important for retailers to get right. New Zealand should demand friendly, useful assistance from their retailer, whether that’s through a social media message, email or phone call. 

Retailers appreciate that customers sometimes have questions or concerns with their electricity bills. Customer service are trained to handle billing inquiries, including explaining the different charges, addressing unusual usage data, and assisting with payment-related issues. 

Support you during outages

If your power goes out unexpectedly, your retailer can help with updates or support when getting reconnected, if you’re having trouble reaching your local lines company. We work closely with all lines companies across the country each day. 

Retailers aim to keep customers informed during power outages. They can provide updates on the outage situation, estimated restoration times, and any relevant information received from the lines company. This keeps customers in the loop on restoration efforts.

Buy back your excess solar energy

Some retailers (like Powershop!) offer discounts against power bills for homes that are collecting and exporting solar-generated electricity back into the grid. This is a great way to save on your monthly electricity costs and not let good energy go to waste! Learn more about our solar buy back offer here. 

Solar panels on a house

Read more on comparing power retailers

Are you in research-mode figuring out which power company to choose? Use our Compare Power Companies guide where we cover things like benefits, customer care and much more. 

How much could you save with Powershop?

You can upload a bill to Powershop and we can give you a savings estimate to find out how much you could be saving with us. If you want more power saving tips, head over to our full guide.