Electricity - and all that it involves - can be about as easy to understand as quantum field theory (say whaaat?). Whether you’re perplexed by generation, national grid intricacies, or the ins and outs of the electricity market, it’s one tricky wee beast!
So, here at Flick, we try to keep things clear and simple, especially when it comes to our pricing and the products that we’re offering. When we launched FIXIE back in September 2018, we put together a list of FAQs to introduce you to the newest member of our Flick fam. But, since that launch date, we’ve had such a positive FIXIE uptake that we thought it was high time for an update. Welcome to FIXIE FAQs: 2.0!
FIXIE vs Freestyle - please explain.
Freestyle is the original spot price product (the first in NZ!), and one that we’re very proud of. With Freestyle, you’ve got access to the wholesale electricity market, where the price of power - that’s the generation portion of your bill - changes every half hour. We simply pass on the wholesale costs of getting power to your home, and charge a separate, totally transparent Flick fee for us to act as your retailer. With access to spot prices, our Freestylin’ Flicksters ride the ups and downs of the market to reap long-term rewards, and can choose to use power when it costs them less by using Flick’s sweet suite of tech tools. Freedom!
With FIXIE, you still get fair, transparent power prices - without any mark-up - but you’ll also have certainty about the price of your generation. So, as with Freestyle, you get supply costs (metering and transmission charges, plus the Electricity Authority levy) at the wholesale rate, but your spot price is fixed under our under our 6-month price promise, and won’t move up or down with the market. And, if you’re in a network area where your price changes depending on the time or season, you’ll still be able to move energy use around to take advantage of lower price times.
But the ultimate win? Both FIXIE and Freestyle are without fixed-term contracts, and without break fees! So Flicksters are free to switch between products (or retailers - though we hope you’ll stick around!) and do what’s right for them. Flick yeah!
What’s a ‘fixed price’?
Good question. It can be a confusing term, and it’s often misinterpreted as a fixed dollar amount that’s paid each week. But, with FIXIE, the term ‘fixed price’ relates specifically to the generation part of your bill. It means you’re paying a fixed spot price for the electricity you use, rather than a spot price that can move up and down throughout the day (as with Freestyle).
Although your generation price is fixed (for example, you might have locked in 8 cents per kWh for 6 months), it’s important to note that your power bills can still vary. That’s because the generation portion of your power bill is influenced by a combination of your fixed generation price, and how much power you use. In short, the more power you use (even at a fixed price), the higher your power bill will be.
How does Flick ‘fix’ the price of generation?
We’ve bought the electricity in advance, through something known in the industry as ‘hedging’. It’s a practice where retailers purchase a specific amount of electricity from a generator at a fixed price, over a long period of time. So, essentially, you’re paying us for power we’ve already bought at a certain price. The generation price that you’re paying with FIXIE will stay the same for the entire 6-month price period (though other fees, such as charges from your network company, may change).
But Flicksters aren’t locked in to a ‘fixed-term’ contract with break fees?
Nope! We don’t like the idea of tying our customers into contracts with early exit fees. It just doesn’t sit right with us. Instead, we offer a 6-month price promise that’s kind of like a pinky promise from us to you that we won’t change the generation price on you at any point during our 6-month agreement.
‘What are ‘wholesale prices’?
There are a few cogs in the wheel when it comes to your electricity bill, including your generation, transmission and distribution, metering, the Electricity Authority, and, of course, us (Flick!) as your retailer. With FIXIE, all the costs that make up your power bill are passed on to you at the wholesale rate, which means that whatever we pay for power is the same price we sell it on to you for. Fair pricing at it’s finest, reckon.
How does that work with hedged (rather than spot) pricing? Well, just like Freestyle, FIXIE incorporates our ever-important Flick values of honesty, transparency and fairness, so our numbers gurus have calculated a price for our customers that most fairly reflects the cost of fixing your generation for 6-months. We don’t make any money on the cost of your power - we simply pass on the costs of supply without any mark-up, and then charge a transparent Flick Fee and a separate fee to manage FIXIE.
The FIXIE Admin Fee covers the cost of technical outgoings like trades and account handling - it isn’t calculated to make a profit. As with Freestyle, we make money on the Flick fee, which is 100% unbundled and clearly stated on your bill.
What does FIXIE cost?
Your FIXIE price depends on a couple of things - mainly which network you belong to (your Regional Pricing), your metering configuration (for example, Controlled or Uncontrolled), and your User Plan (Low User or Standard User). While the generation portion of your bill will be fixed for 6 months, there may be differences between 6-month contracts, depending on what we’re able to buy hedges for. If you’re loving FIXIE life and want to sign up to another 6-month price promise, we’ll talk you through any price changes that may have occurred to help you make your decision.
Your network pricing plan (or tariff) depends on the type of meter at your home. A controlled meter means your network company can switch certain appliances in your home on and off - usually your hot water cylinder - for short periods of time when demand is high, and usually has lower charges (don’t worry - they won’t turn the lights off!). An uncontrolled meter can’t be switched off and on by your network company.
What’s Regional Pricing?
As we’ve talked about already, your power bill is made up of a number of charges from a number of companies, including generators, your local lines company, the company that provides the meter on your house, and your retailer (that’s us!). There’s also the Electricity Authority levy, and GST.
Each region has its own pricing schedule, which takes into account the various fees from the companies who service that area. Generally speaking, changes in pricing between regions are usually linked to the cost to move energy around the country. Often, too, local lines companies will offer different pricing at different times of the day, day of the week, or in different seasons, to encourage their local electricity consumers to use their power at off-peak times.
How do I make the switch?
With its fixed, fair and transparent power prices, we totally understand if FIXIE floats your boat! And the good news is, it’s super easy to make the switch - simply head to the ‘My Accounts’ tab of your dashboard, scroll down to ‘Your Pricing Plan’ section and click on ‘Change my price plan’. Or, for those of you who prefer the app, a ‘Switch to FIXIE’ button now exists on the mobile app, under ‘Account’.
It may take a couple of days for the change to show up at your end, but your switch to FIXIE will be backdated to the Monday of the week that you made the move.
How do you bill with FIXIE?
Our billing cycle at Flick is always 9 days behind, so if you’ve recently switched to FIXIE, keep in mind that you’ll have two Freestyle-priced bills before your FIXIE-priced usage kicks in.
And if your mobile app and dashboard still shows Freestyle (spot pricing) information, don’t stress - it may take a few days to update while the FIXIE switch is underway. These will change over within a week or so.
Still got FIXIE questions, or looking to switch back to Freestyle? Send us a DM! We’re always here if you need a chat.