Here at Flick Electric Co. we pass onto our customers all the costs of getting electricity to a property, without any mark-up – that’s generation, distribution and metering – as well as the EA levy and GST. We then charge our customers a separate, transparent fee to be their retailer. Our prices are transparent and honest, and that’s the way they’ll always be.

The Orion network, which is the distribution company that services customers in Canterbury, has slightly complicated pricing. If you’re in this area, it can make for charges that are a little trickier to understand. Don’t fret though, we’ve got you covered.

Unlike some distribution companies which have set rates, the Orion Network uses peak and off-peak rates. Though it makes pricing a tad confusing, essentially it’s a pretty big positive, because it means that Orion customers have great opportunities to reduce their power bills, simply by changing the time of day they use their electricity.

So how does Orion charge its retailers?

From 1 May to 31 August – the winter months, which they refer to as the ‘Winter Peak’ pricing period – Orion increases its charges at high demand times. That’s from 7-10am and 5-7pm on weekdays. They do this to try and encourage households to move their electricity use away from these specific times, and to smooth out the load on the local lines during the cold winter months when demand is heaviest.

The Orion network also offers lower off-peak rates, overnight from 9pm-7am during the week, and all day on weekends and public holidays. This is great news for Flick customers, because in addition to being far more informed about the actual cost of electricity at high demand times, you also get access to Orion’s lower prices, which we pass on directly to you.

Orion then calculates its charges to a retailer based on their customers’ usage over a number of times from 1 May to 31 August (the ‘Winter Peak’ pricing period), and applies this charge over 12 months from 1 May (backdated).

And how does Flick pass this on to customers?

Flick passes through this charge for Stanrdard Users as a daily fixed charge over the year, as well as the Winter Peak charge at a per kWh rate at the times of highest demand (as mentioned above, that’s from 7am-10am and 5pm-7pm on weekdays from 1 May to 31 August). If you’re a Low User only a per kWh charge will apply.

We realise that we could simply pass these charges onto our customers as a standard fixed rate. But we do it this way to better reflect the actual cost of network charges over the winter period. We think that’s its a good idea for our customers to understand why prices change at high demand times of the day so that we can all try and change the way we use our electricity.  It’s better for our wallets, it’s better for our infrastructure, and it’s much, much better for the environment.

You can find the schedule of pricing that we will pass on to customers to cover Orion’s winter peak fixed charge to us for the 12 months beginning 1 May, and the winter peak per kWh change here.

But why does Orion’s peak charge affect the variable kWh charge for Low Users? 

By law we’re not able to charge Low Users any more than 30.00cents per day in fixed charges.

The metering charge that we already pass through is 15.00cents per day, meaning only 15.00cents per day was remaining to cover Orion’s peak charge for Low User customers. So, to cover Orion’s peak charge we need to include a per kWh charge for Low User customers.

So how can I use Orion’s pricing to my advantage?

Well, you’ve got a great opportunity to cut those power bills! Moving your heavy electricity use to low-demand times can help you save a bundle. From 1 May to 31 August, it’s a good idea to avoid heavy electricity use – like running your dryer, dishwasher, washing machine –  during the peak periods. Also consider using timers to turn on your heating before you get up in the morning, and before you get home in the evening. This way you’ll have a nice warm house when you need it, but not pay peak prices for your heating.

You can read more about load shifting and what it can save you, here. Or watch this vid:


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