There’s something special about the cooler months – whether it’s hunkering down in front of a crackling fire, wrapping up warm for a walk in the rain, or dishing up a big bowl of steamy soup to warm you from the inside out. Bliss!
That being said, winter also brings with it a fair few frustrations, and higher power bills are one of them. But being the #CleverFlicker that you are, you’re all about being prepared for what’s ahead - so we’ve got your electricity admin covered with a list of things to check as we take the deep dive into the cold.
Has your household had a change of circumstances lately?
Lines companies charge different metering rates for Low Users and Standard Users of electricity. These User Plans are set 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 those using less than 8,000kWh should be on a Low User plan. From Christchurch south, the threshold is 9,000kWh. If you’ve had any changes to your household recently, like you’re working from home, or you’ve swapped flatmates for couple life, it can affect how much power you use and which plan is best for you.
To keep things easy for our Flick whānau, we’re currently running a check to identify Flicksters whose usage falls outside their current user plan threshold. If that’s you, we’ll be emailing you to let you know, and we’ll automatically switch you over to the correct user plan – easy as! (If you’d rather not be automatically switched, you can opt out via the email, too). If you don’t receive an email from us, you’re on the right user plan for your consumption. Sorted!
You might also have heard us talk about the Government’s phase-out of user plans, which began last year and will be completed by 2027. You can read more on that in our User Plan blog here.
Could you shift your power use off-peak to save?
Our Off Peak pricing plan is O for Awesome. Why? Throughout the week and all weekend long, you’ll get access to cheaper rates during off-peak hours. By moving a few power-hungry tasks into off-peak times of the day and night, you’ll be able to make the most of cheaper power and watch the savings stack up.
But Off Peak’s not just great for your wallet, it’s better for our environment, too. It encourages us as consumers to use our power in off-peak times when there’s less demand, spreading the load more evenly across the day and placing less pressure on the national grid at high-demand times. That means our cleaner, renewable generation is better able to meet the electricity needs of Aotearoa. If you’re keen to save money without cutting back your power usage and switching your power usage to off-peak hours is doable in your household, Off Peak’s the plan for you!
Are you on the best plan for your power use?
If your response to this question looks like the ‘person shrugging’ emoji, good news: we’ll sort this one for you! Our Flickin’ Best Plan Promise helps you ensure you’re on the best Flick plan, based on your electricity usage patterns. Every 90 days, we review the times of day you’re using power to make sure you’re on the best plan for your lifestyle and wallet, and if we reckon another plan will save you money on your bill, we’ll let you know – that’s our promise.
If you’ve received an email from us and not yet changed plans, now’s the time. Simply log into the Accounts tab of your dashboard and hit ‘Change plan’… then tick that one off the to-do list!
What do your dashboard insights say?
Your dashboard’s data holds the key to some important clues about your power usage and patterns. The ‘Analyse’ tab (or the ‘Usage’ tab on your app) is a treasure trove of tidbits and can even help you identify appliances in your home that might be 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’s inflating your power bills.
Our easy-to-understand dashboard and app illustrates when you use power and how much, so it’s a good idea to check your data frequently to make sure your appliances aren’t having a party at home without you.
Are your appliances safe to use?
Before you switch on those appliances that have sat idle since last winter, do a quick check to make sure they’re safe and ready for use. That includes things like electric blankets, dryers, heaters, heat pumps and dehumidifiers, as well as any power boards to make sure they’re not overloaded or faulty.
As a standard practice, regularly clean out the lint filters on your dryer and your dehumidifiers (these have been known to cause house fires), as well as the filters on your heat pump, which, aside from keeping your air cleaner, will help keep it working efficiently.
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.