There’s something exciting happening all around the world at the moment. It’s an electrifying tension, a growing sense of positive change, and murmurs and movement that, little by little, are rippling the status quo.
What’s going on? Well, we’re all figuring out that there are new and better ways of doing things. We’re starting to understand that the traditions and models set in place by large corporations are, often, only there to benefit the corporations themselves (cold hard cash, baby). And we’re beginning to realise that those ways of doing things are actually not that good – they’re not good for us and they’re certainly not good for the environment.
And it’s particularly true of the electricity industry. For decades there has only been one way to buy your electricity from the National Grid – from an electricity retailer at a fixed rate set by them. We reckon this is wrong for two main reasons:
1: Electricity companies are creaming it. They’re making huge profit margins off the difference between their chosen rates and the wholesale price of electricity, while we all pay through the nose for our power. And that ain’t fair.
2: It’s made us all ignorant. Why? Well, when we purchase our electricity at a set price, unaware of the wholesale cost of the power we’re buying, our knowledge is limited. We don’t know what factors are affecting the cost of that electricity, we don’t know how our usage is affecting the world around us, and we don’t know how to change the way we use it.
The Age of Enlightenment (get it?!): Round 2
But that’s where Flick Electric Co. is working to make a difference. We know that knowledge is power, so our customers have access to the wholesale price of electricity (plus GST, EA levies, metering etc), with no mark ups whatsoever. And we combine this with our sweet tech tools, like the Flick app and the Flick dashboard, to show our customers the real-time price of electricity, the real-time generation supply that’s helping to set that price, and the carbon emissions that our electricity use is creating.
Which means that, aside from the huge positive of saving money, we Flicksters are also gaining awareness. We’re more aware of what is going on with the market and within our environment. We’re aware of times of stress and high demand, of higher carbon emissions, of low water levels, outages, or a very cold winter. We’re aware that in the winter of 2017, there wasn’t enough hydropower to generate our electricity, so coal generators were firing 24 hours a day to cover the shortfall, thereby increasing NZ’s carbon emission levels A LOT. And we’re also aware that if we collectively thought more about how we use electricity, we could greatly reduce the impact of these events.
So, here at Flick, we choose to tackle these events head-on. We don’t pretend they’re not happening or that the market is infinite and untouchable, and we don’t try to hide them from our customers. Ignorance might be bliss, but in the long run, it’s a bliss that’ll come back to bite us.
And yes, our customers will feel the pinch on the odd occasions that market prices are high (bearing in mind that prices are low – the below-average kind of low – almost half the time). But they’ll also have far greater opportunities to make changes that reflect what is actually happening around them. Changes that are better for our infrastructure, our economy and our environment.
Meanwhile, the traditional electricity retailers will carry on, business as usual. They don’t want change. Why would they? They like the status quo. They are the status quo. And they’ll continue to claim that, with their set prices, you’re safeguarded from the high prices (and low prices, we might add!) of the electricity industry – but at what cost?