The Blog

Get smart with off-peak pricing

Here at Flick HQ, we’re big advocates of smart power use. It’s the way of the future, if you ask us. And if you read our last blog ‘Change: it’s CHOICE’, you’ll understand why.

You’ll know that using your power at off-peak times of the day has an influence on the overall supply and demand of electricity, and choosing to use it when it’s in low demand often means lower power prices (for those on a spot price plan), lower carbon emissions thanks to our sustainable generators, and less stress on our electricity infrastructure. That’s goodness right there!

Looking for a better deal on your electricity? Get NZ’s Fairest Power Deal right here with Flick Electric Co.

A smarter network

A number of distribution companies (a.k.a the chaps in charge of our power lines) are also getting on board with smart power use. Traditionally, distribution companies (or network companies as they’re also known) would charge a set ‘standard user’ or ‘low user’ fee, depending on how many kilowatts of power your household consumed. You’d also fall into a ‘controlled’ or ‘uncontrolled’ meter category, which related to whether the network company could turn your meter on or off remotely (in case of emergency or to redistribute demand).

But now, thanks to modern technology and new, very cool smart meters, there are other pricing categories popping up. Smart meters allow the electricity industry to see exactly what electricity is being used at what time, remotely. That’s led many distribution companies, including Vector Limited (Auckland), WEL Networks (Hamilton), Electra Network (Kapiti and Horowhenua), and Unison Network (Hawkes Bay and Taupo/Rotorua), to offer new time-based pricing plans that encourage users to change the times of day they use their electricity.

Time-based? Why?

Well, it takes major infrastructure upgrades and lots of general maintenance to ensure that we’re adequately prepared for high demand times of the day. Power lines need to be made bigger and maintained more often to cope. But, realistically, only around 8 hours out of each 24 hour day are considered high demand. That means there’s a heck of a lot of time and money spent on the network to cater for those peak 8 hours.

So it makes sense that some distribution companies now offer pricing plans that give users cheaper network prices at off-peak times of the day, and more expensive prices at peak times. It’s an incentive that works for both electricity users and the distribution companies. Confusingly though, the pricing plans go by a few different names: advanced pricing, smart pricing, time-of-day pricing. Generally, and despite the aliases, they mean the same thing – and that’s a cheaper power bill in return for smart power use. Win-win!

Get smart too

So, how do you use your power in said smart fashion? Simple. It’s really as easy as rescheduling a few jobs to the off-peak hours. Things like turning your dishwasher on at bedtime, programming your washing machine to run during the day and charging your devices at night can have a significant influence on our traditional peak hours.

Flickin’ sorted

It’s important to note that not all electricity retailers offer these time-based (or smart, or time-of-day) pricing options, because not all retailers have the necessary systems or technology required to do so. But it’s a jolly good idea to give your retailer a call to check whether you can change your tariff to be on one of these plans. Flick is a tech-savvy company, so we’ve got both the systems and the technology in place to pass on most time-based pricing plans to our customers. And that’s on top of the wholesale electricity prices we offer through our spot price plan, Freestyle. High five!

What next?

We’d recommend that you give your electricity retailer a call and check whether they offer time-based pricing. If they do, and it’s suitable for your household, get on it quick smart. If they don’t, well, we’re only a phone call away.