How to get help with your lockdown power bill
Many New Zealanders are worried about bigger power bills coming their way with so many people not just working from home, but also spending most of their spare time there as well. Especially as we move into the cooler months.
You may feel that everything is on hold during the level 4 and 3 lockdown periods, but there are still steps you can take during lockdown if you have worries about your power bill, or if you want guaranteed savings on your power bill.
1. What should I do if my power bill doesn’t look right?
If you receive your power bill and it doesn’t look right you can still take steps to correct the bill with your provider.
During the level 4 lockdown Meters aren’t being read. So if you have an older-style electricity or gas meter your bill is likely to be estimated during lockdown. Check your own meter and contact your power provider with your meter reading to discuss how accurate the bill is.
Unfortunately if you are spending more time at home than usual, and as the weather cools down, you may find that your power bill is higher than normal.
2. What should I do if I am worried about paying my power bill?
As we head through our (hopefully) final days of Level 4, and continue to spend time at home during Level 3, many New Zealanders' income and finances have been effected. You may find that you are concerned about how to pay your power bill.
A key first step is to reach out to your power provider to discuss your situation and ask for assistance if you need it. Your provider should discuss flexible payment options, and make sure you are on the right plan.
Cameron Burrow, Electricity Retailers Association CEO, encouraged anyone who is concerned about paying their bill to reach out to their power company. The Association represents power retailers like Contact, Genesis, and Mercury Energy. Burrows reassured Kiwis that the association don’t want to see anyone falling into debt or choosing not to heat their homes because they can’t pay their bill.
3. What if I need support dealing with my power company?
In most cases, your power provider should be a best first point of contact for support. Mary Ollivier, the Utilities Disputes Commissioner for Utilities Disputes, a free and independent complaints service says, “Now more than ever it’s important for people to reach out and stay connected. If you are facing financial hardship, or you are experiencing other vulnerabilities such as your health, disability, or age, contact your energy provider and ask them about the extra assistance they have in place. Also check their websites for information about COVID-19, including alternative payment options for those who don’t pay bills online."
If you need further support after speaking with your Power Provider, Utilities Disputes is a next good step. The Utilities Disputes team can help clarify issues, talk through the options available, and guide people to the right place - whether that be a community or government agency, or a utilities provider.
4. Get guaranteed savings on your power bill
As we head through these unusual times, this is the perfect time to check that you are on the best Power Plan for your situation.
If you feel that you are paying too much for power, you can still switch power companies during lockdown. There are a number of power companies you may not have considered who are doing innovative things to help customers control and reduce how much they pay for power.
For example, Electric Kiwi offer their users a free hour of power every day. If you’re strategic about how you use your free hour of power it can add up to great savings. They guarantee that new customers will save on their power bill for the first 12 months with no contracts or break fees.
Or, Powershop often have competitive joining credit - plus choose to buy special Powerpacks to prepay your power when it’s cheaper, or pay as you go with guaranteed savings.
Compare power plans with Power Compare to make an informed choice about power. Or our Customer Support team are ready and waiting to chat with you on the phone about the best option for you. Give them a call on 0508 2COMPARE (0508 226672)