Love or hate the winter time, there’s something to be said for the cooler months - whether it’s hunkering down in front of a movie on a cold, rainy evening, a big bowl of steamy soup to warm you from the inside out, or the warm glow of a wood burning fire.
That being said, those winter months also bring with them a fair few frustrations, and higher power bills are right up there at the top. Humph. But being the #CleverFlicker that you are, we know you’re all about being prepared for what’s ahead - and this winter we’ve got your electricity admin covered with a list of things to check before we take the deep dive into the cold. Read on!
Has your household had a change of circumstances lately?
Here in Aotearoa, distribution companies charge different metering rates for Low Users and Standard Users of electricity to ensure there’s a fair spread of cost amongst users. User Plans and rates are set by the distribution companies at thresholds based on kilowatt (kWh) usage per year. Households that use more than 8,000kWh each year should be on a Standard User plan, while households that use less than 8,000kWh over a year should be on a Low user plan. From Christchurch south, however, the threshold is 9,000kWh.
If you’ve had any changes to your household recently, like a new baby (congrats!), you’re working from home more, or a teen’s flown the nest, it can affect how much electricity you use and which plan is best for you.
We aim to check our customers’ details annually to make sure we’ve got you on the right user plan, but lots can happen in a year so if you’ve had any changes recently, get in touch. Or if you’d like to check your usage yourself against the thresholds (go you!), head to the ‘Usage data’ tab inside your dashboard and select a start date and end date to cover the last year. Once you’ve downloaded your data, you should be able to highlight the column containing your usage, and find the total amount you’ve used right down the bottom. Then compare this with the thresholds listed above.
Are you in a network area that offers cheaper off-peak pricing?
If you are… that’s good news! Why? Also known as Time Of Use pricing, off-peak pricing is offered by a number of network companies around Aotearoa to encourage us as consumers to use our power in off-peak times when there’s less demand. They do this because it helps spread the load more evenly across the hours of the day, and means there’s less pressure on the national grid at high-demand times. Not all retailers pass these off-peak prices on to their customers, but here at Flick we do! (Just another reason to love us, hey?).
To check if you have off-peak pricing as a part of your pricing plan, head to your customer dashboard and scroll down to the ‘Your Plan Pricing’ section. If off-peak pricing is available at your place, it’ll be labelled ‘Offpeak usage charges’ and underneath will be the off peak price (hint: compare it with the ‘Peak usage charges’ listed above it to see the difference!).
On the Flick app, any off-peak pricing in your area will be shown on your price graph. The section in green, labelled ‘Other charges’, includes your network prices, so if it’s higher or lower at any point during the day, good news - you’ve got Off-Peak pricing!
What do your dashboard insights say?
If you love mining deep into the world of your dashboard’s data you might have noticed that it holds the key to some important clues about your power usage and patterns. Your ‘Analyse’ tab is a treasure trove of interesting information and can even help you to see if there might be appliances in your home that are using more power than they should be.
How so? When your household is asleep and all appliances are switched off, it makes sense that you should be using very little power. We sometimes see customers with higher usage overnight or during the day when nobody is home, and that can indicate an issue with your hot water cylinder or other appliances that are inflating your power bills.
Our easy-to-understand dashboard illustrates when you use power and how much, so it’s a good idea to check your Analyse tab frequently to make sure your appliances aren’t having a party at home without you.
Have we got your current contact details?
Sometimes life happens - you get a new job, you lose your phone - and that can mean our contact details for you are no longer current. It might not sound like a biggie, but in the lead up to winter it’s a good idea to check that we’ve got your correct phone number and email address, so that if we happen to notice anything odd with your usage - for example, your household bills suddenly and unusually skyrockets - we can do our best to get in touch with you and make sure things are working as they should.
But we can’t do that if we don’t have your contact information up-to-date (we’re good, but we’re not that good). Check your details on the ‘Account’ tab of your customer dashboard.
Are your appliances safe to use?
Safety first, Flicksters! Our top tip? Do a quick check of all the appliances that you stashed away or that have sat unused over the warmer months to make sure they’re safe and ready for use this winter. That includes things like electric blankets, driers, heaters and dehumidifiers.
Most electricians offer a service to check electric blankets and other appliances around your home for a reasonable price (usually between $7 - $15 per electric blanket), and a number of local fire brigades also hold special events where you can take your electric blanket in and have it checked for free.
Fire and Emergency NZ also have some valuable information to help you keep your whānau happy and healthy this winter - check it out.
Got questions? We’re here to help! Drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.