Sometimes bills come at the most inconvenient of times, like that one week that you’ve got a 5-year-old’s birthday party to organise and pay for, a car that needs to be fixed, and sports and school fees that are overdue. Eeek! Add in the cost of utilities, like your internet and power bills, and it can all get a bit too much.
We know that tough times can mean some of our lovely Flicksters struggle to pay their bills, but please, don’t panic. We’re humans, and a number of us have been in the same situation. We know it’s not easy, and that’s why we have processes in place to help you through it. So, what to do?
If you know you’re going to miss a payment, the best thing you can do is let us know. If you can talk to us before 5pm Wednesday, we’ll put a hold on your direct debit so you don’t get stung by your bank, while we figure out a payment plan that suits you. For many customers, this might just mean catching up in a week’s time. For others, we have options available. But you need to let us know, so that we can help.
Here’s an example: one of our Flick staff members, Liz, had a hot water cylinder located upstairs that leaked down through the ceiling and into the laundry. To dry the property out she had to run dehumidifiers (four upstairs and three downstairs) around the clock for 6 days, during a week where the market encountered a number of price spikes. Liz tracked her power usage for that week on the CHOICE app, and was aware that it was going to be a big one – it came in at a costly $155.91. Liz, who lives in a rental property, knew that her landlord would cover the bill but was waiting on insurance to make the payment, so she spoke to our Billing team to organise a payment plan. The solution? She was able to pay the bill off manually over two weeks. Liz says, “It was a great experience, knowing that Flick was flexible and understood. And the big plus – I’ve saved over $400.00 since I changed to Flick!”.
Keep an eye on CHOICE
To avoid getting any further in the red, be sure to track the spot price of power using the CHOICE app and your dashboard online. Find the cheapest times to run things like the washing machine, and take a look at our blog ‘What to do in a Price Spike‘ to compare the running costs of some common peak time appliances, so you’ll know roughly what it’s costing you to use them during high price events.
Don’t go cold or hungry
No NZer should have to live in a cold home, or go without necessities – and that’s especially true if there are kids in the house. Keeping your family safe and warm should be everyone’s number one priority, including ours. We’re not going to disconnect your power for missing one or two payments. This is an absolute last resort action that usually only happens when we receive no communication from the account holder – so please, just let us know what’s going on!
Check out your options
If you’re in a position where you simply cannot make ends meet, the Ministry of Social Development might be able to help you with your power bill. Give them a call to see what they can do.
And finally, if you find the changing nature of the wholesale electricity market is too much to manage, we’re great proponents of shopping around for the best power deal for you, even if that’s not with Flick. We’re confident you’ll be better off in the long run with us, but we also recognise that riding the higher spot prices is simply not realistic for every Kiwi household. If you need to leave Flick while prices are high, be sure to read the fine print before getting locked into a fixed term contract with another retailer. We’ve put together a useful Guide to Bullsh*t Power Deals to help you get your head around the clever marketing tactics of some power companies. And when spot prices return to their normal, super-low selves, we’ll welcome you home to Flick with open arms!
The most important message in all of this is to keep the lines of communication open, by calling us on 0800 4 FLICK (435 425), or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep your family safe and warm, and we can help get you through the tight times. Flicksters, we’re on your team!