Bitter southerlies, stinging rain and the first flakes of snow can only mean one thing – winter’s on its way! And for most folks, these cooler months also bring an increase in electricity use (ya gotta stay warm, right?!) and those hard-to-swallow, high winter power bills.
But things are looking much brighter for Flicksters on our spot price plan, Freestyle. That’s because, historically, wintertime means lots of wind and rain, renewable energy that’s in plentiful supply, and spot prices that are cheerfully low. Yippee!
Last year’s dry winter and high spot prices were not your typical winter season in the world of electricity. In fact, NZ only encounters a dry winter every 4 to 5 years on average (prior to 2017, the last was back in 2012). That means that for the majority of the time, there are lots of good savings to be had on the wholesale electricity market. Choice!
The even better news? At the moment, price forecasts for the months ahead are looking sweet as. So let’s take a look at the facts and figures.
Where are hydro lake levels sitting?
Here in NZ, renewable energy - like hydro and wind - make up about 80% of our electricity generation. Our renewable power is cheap and clean, so when it’s in plentiful supply it typically means that spot prices and carbon emissions are nice and low. At the moment our hydro storage is sitting at a whopping 115% of average (at 18 April, 2018), which is one of the highest percentages we’ve seen in the last 20 years!
How does this compare with the lead-in to 2017’s dry winter?
Well, this time last year lake levels were sitting below the 91-year average, at around 3000 GWh. This year they’re sitting well above it, at approximately 3500 GWh, thanks to a warmer-than-usual Autumn and lots of rain in all the right places. That has the flow-on effect of putting less stress on our electricity generators and building up the controlled storage in our lakes.
What are spot prices doing at the moment?
If you’re a Freestyle Flickster you’ll know that one big benefits of this model is that it passes through the wholesale cost of getting electricity to your home or business with no mark-up, and charge a small, transparent fee to act as your retailer. So, all that beautiful wind and rain over the last few months has translated into some seriously good spot prices and savings for our customers.
Exactly how good are they? On the wholesale market, spot prices are considered low when they’re less than 6 cents per kWh. At the start of April, during Easter weekend, generation was close to free for some customers on Freestyle, with some spot prices hitting as low as 0.5 cents per kWh, and an NZ-wide average of 3.1 cents per kWh! The spot price forecast for the next three months (April - June 2018) is looking pretty positive too, sitting at a sweet 7.65 cents per kWh (as at 11 April 2018). For the week ending 8 April 2018, the average Flick customer on our Freestyle plan saved 17.2% compared with what they would have paid with their previous power company. In our humble opinion, now’s a great time to be a Flickster!
How does Flick help me make the most of low spot prices?
We think it’s important that our Freestylin’ Flicksters have access to the right tools to help them take advantage of low spot prices. Our new low-price app alerts let Flicksters know when prices have dropped to 3 cents per kWh or less, and also if they’re expected to drop in the next 30 minutes so that you can make the most of them.
Is there a tool to help me save for any higher bills?
Yes! We simplify paying - and saving - for your power with our sweet tool, Volt by Flick. It 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 so that when you have a bill that’s higher than normal, you can automatically dip into your Volt to help pay for it. And because you’re paying a regular amount on a regular basis (with our weekly billing!), it’s nice and easy to manage your weekly budget. Brilliant!
What if I want to leave Flick?
No problemo. On the off chance that you find our Freestyle plan’s not for you and you want to vamoose, you’re free to leave. There’s nothing to lose!
Want to know more about how spot pricing works? Have a read of this handy wee blog!
Did you know that Flick’s Toitū carbonzero certified - whoop whoop! Find out what that means right here.