Keeping your power bill down during winter can be a challenge in New Zealand. In fact, depending on where you live and how you heat your home, some Kiwi homes will see their power use more than double.
Here are some small changes you can make in your day-to-day life to cut the amount of power you use in your home. Plus, one change that almost every home in New Zealand could make to save them an estimated $372 million per year, read on to find out what!
It’s much easier to reduce the amount of electricity you use to heat your home if you have a plan. Sit down with your family or flatmates to have a chat – try to think about which rooms you need to heat, which you don’t, and make sure everyone knows to keep internal doors shut. Try to come to an agreement about the best thermostat settings, what times you’ll be in to need a warm home, or whether everyone just needs to invest in some woolly socks and fleecy jumpers! A bit of planning and a few small changes can all add up to big savings on your electricity bill over the winter.
Many of us are facing a tough time financially as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. If your employment situation has changed over recent months, there may support available from the government. For example, the Winter Energy Payment was doubled this year to make sure New Zealand’s most vulnerable people can still heat their home this winter.
During the lockdown period Electricity Meters weren’t being read. So if you have an older-style electricity or gas meter your bill is likely to be estimated during the lockdown months. Check your own meter and contact your power provider with your meter reading to discuss how accurate the bill is.
The typical New Zealand home spends 14% of their power on heating. A key way to take control of your spending on power is to make a family plan, consider how you use each room, and compare the costs of different heaters to choose the most efficient type of heat.
For larger rooms that you use regularly, it may be worth paying the upfront cost to install a fixed heater with lower running costs. Electric heaters will be better for smaller rooms or rooms you only want to heat occasionally. Be strategic and only heat the rooms you are in.
Unplug your electronic devices when not in use. Turning them off standy could save around $100 per year. This passive power use is also known as vampire power – for example phone chargers, TVs or microwaves that are constantly on slowly sucking up small amounts of power.
Shorter showers save a lot of energy, and showers use less hot water than baths. If you are trying to reduce your power bill, it may be worth limiting long hot baths to certain nights of the week. Having short showers can help save a family of four around $450 a year. Slowing the shower flow by not turning on the tap the whole way will also reduce the amount of water you use.
According to the Electricity Authority Kiwi households could save an estimated $372 million a year if all households switched to the cheapest power deal available to them. So, take a moment to compare power plans to compare the options and make an informed choice about power in your home.