The Blog

What to do if you can't pay your bill

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?

Call us.

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 Flick 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 [on Flick’s spot price plan, Freestyle]!”.

Keep an eye on the Flick app

For those on our spot price plan, Freestyle, you can track the spot price of power using the Flick 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 New Zealander 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 find the changing nature of the wholesale electricity market is too much to manage, you’ll be stoked to know we now have a brand spanking new fixed pricing product to offer - FIXIE! This helpful little fella lets you fix your generation price for 6 months at a time (no long-term contracts here), and, because it’s underpinned by our Flick values, you’ll still get all the costs of supply passed through without any margin, and Flick charges that are separate and transparent. Plus, we’ll still let you know when it’s the best time to use power in your Flick app. Now that’s what we call power over your power!
  • It might also pay to check out handy wee tool, Volt, too, which lets you choose a regular dollar amount to pay to Flick each week so that you can build up credit on your account that’s only used when your bills reach a certain amount, chosen by you. By paying slightly more than your typical weekly bill, you’ll be stashing money away in your Volt to help cover those higher power bills. And because you’re paying a regular amount on a regular basis, it’s nice and easy to manage your weekly budget.
  • We’re also 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 we’re not for everyone (sob!). If you choose to leave Flick, be sure to read the fine print before getting locked into a long-term fixed term contract with another retailer. We’ve put together a useful Guide to Bullshite Power Deals to help you get your head around the clever marketing tactics of some power companies.

  • 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.

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 hello@flickelectric.co.nz. Keep your family safe and warm, and we can help get you through the tight times. Flicksters, we’re on your team!