It seems the business of electricity is not just for us power-bill-paying adults, but the younger family members too!
We’ve heard some impressive (and adorable) stories of little Freestylin’ Flicksters who are super keen to get involved with monitoring their household’s power use and keeping an eye on the spot price of power. Start ‘em young, we say!
Here we meet families of #CleverFlickers who’re teaching their kids about electricity use, how the electricity industry works, and its impact on our environment.
Introducing the Knowles’
With a household of seven (that’s five kids and two adults), the Knowles family understandably keeps a close eye on their power use. On Flick’s Freestyle spot price plan, that includes teaching the kids to make better choices around their usage, and adjusting their routines to take advantage of low spot prices. As a family, they’ve noticed that their power use increases when they’re all home, so making little changes here and there, and involving the kids in these decisions, is proving to be a successful way to lower their power bills.
Gerri Knowles says, “We set the dishwasher to run at 3 am, as the Flick price [the spot price of electricity that’s available on Flick’s spot price plan, Freestyle] is quite low at this time. Laptops are turned off when not in use, showers are kept to a minimum and we run small baths for the little kids at night. Our weekly power bill has never exceeded $40 with the seven of us in the house, even when the prices were high a few months back (winter 2017). I’m constantly checking the Flick app to gauge the prices.”
And, as Gerri points out, the kids are taking it all on board. “Sophie, who’s eight, is the light monitor for the house, and Jacob, also eight, is in charge of making sure the heater is turned off in the morning.” How awesome is that?!
For the Scott family, the Flick app, which shows the real-time price of power, has been a winner. We chatted with Anna Scott, who explained that her kids follow the app to see the movement of spot prices. This has encouraged the whole family to reconsider the ways in which they use their power: the kids will check the app and then decide if it’s a good time to turn on appliances around the house, and they’ve also switched dishwasher and washing machine usage to night time, when spot prices are typically lower. Good work, team!
One huge plus of the app (the first of its kind here in NZ!) is that it also shows the carbon emission levels of the electricity currently available in the national grid through CHOICE, as well as the relationship between that electricity and spot prices - have a read of our CHOICE blog for more info. It’s a great one to discuss with the kids.
Like the other families we’ve mentioned who’re loving the Freestyle life, the Jonsons are also fans of switching their power use to off-peak times when spot prices are lower. Their top tip? Use the time delay button on your appliances! As a family, they’ve also become a lot more interested in NZ’s electricity industry. Tabitha Jonson says that the kids are particularly interested in energy generation, which has led to some great discussions in their house about the many different ways power is generated - flick yeah!
Over the 2017 winter months, and particularly during the school holidays when the kids were home, the Maxwell family became power-saving pros! Leah Maxwell says they used that time “…as a great opportunity to remind our kids that everything we did around the house that required electricity, needed to be thought about more carefully.”
With their Flick app helping them identify times of higher prices, the kids took on the responsibility of checking that lights and chargers were turned off, and picked the best times of the evening to do their baking and start cooking dinner. And they even took the opportunity to turn off the TV and crack out the board games. Leah says, “Our savings since we joined Flick [on Flick’s Freestyle plan] have been significant, just shy of $1,000” - it’s clearly well worth making it a family affair!
Flick’s top 5 tips for turning your tots into electricity experts.
- Make it choice! Use CHOICE in the Flick app to show your kids how the spot price of power moves up and down at different times of the day and night, and how, in turn, that relates to NZ’s carbon emission levels.
- Show them the money. Use your Flick dashboard, in particular your Analyse tab, to make comparisons about your household’s usage over time and what it’s costing you. Try looking at different seasons and different times of the day or night, to see how this influences the changing costs of your family’s power bill.
- Give them the power. Put them in charge of turning their night light off during the day, switching off their bedroom heater, and even running themselves a small bath at night. Take them through our price spike blog which looks at the running costs of different home appliances - it’s a real eye-opener!
- Learn together. Explore the world of electricity, from learning what electricity is, right through to how we generate it and get it to homes and businesses here in NZ. Chat about 2018’s Dry Winter and the ways in which NZ’s weather can influence our electricity industry.
- Explain it, warts and all. Don’t shy away from discussing the cost of electricity, how expensive it can be for many families, and how tough the winter months can be for those living in cold and damp homes. Energy poverty is a big problem here in NZ and one that Flick is helping to tackle, bit by bit.
If you’ve talked electricity ‘til you’re blue in the face and the kids are still hungry for more, don’t fret - give us a call. We’re more than happy to answer the tricky questions (and, hopefully, give you a break!) of budding energy enthusiasts. Phone us on 0800 4 FLICK (435 425), or head over to our Facebook page and type us a comment. We’d love to hear from you!