Stuff reports that some big power companies have ended the no disconnection policies they bought in during lockdown.
During Level 4 and Level 3 of lockdown there were no disconnections. The report says that Contact Energy and Mercury have both resumed disconnections, while Genesis and Meridian were both considering bringing them back.
The resumption of disconnections can sound concerning – with so many New Zealanders already feeling the financial impact of Covid-19 and worried about paying their bills. We’ve outlined some key things to be aware of if you are concerned about managing your power bill during this difficult time.
There is no question that many homes in New Zealand are experiencing financial stress and worrying about their financial future. So the news that power companies are resuming disconnections sounds alarming. Here are some key things to know:
The power companies have said that disconnections are a last resort, and have pledged not to disconnect homes in financial distress who engage with them.
The Electricity Retailers’ Association has reassured customers that if they enter into a dialogue with their power company and make a plan there shouldn’t be a disconnection. So, if you’re currently worried about paying your bill the first thing to do is contact your power company up front. If you are experiencing financial hardship, medically dependant or otherwise vulnerable, discuss your situation and work with your provider to make a plan.
Get support if you need it. In most cases, your Power Provider will be the best first point of contact. If you need further support after speaking with your Power Provider, Utilities Disputes is a next good step. They can help clarify the issues, talk through options and guide your next steps.
Prepare for the future by making sure you are on the best power plan for you. This is a key time to compare power plans and check that you are on the most competitive plan for you. Take a moment to compare Power Plans with Power Compare. You might find that there are several power companies who are doing innovative things to help customers control their power use and how much they pay for power.
Choose a plan with a free hour of power
Think about a power company who offers users a free hour of power. Power Innovator Electric Kiwi offers user a free hour of power every day. If you’re strategic about how you use your free hour it can add up to great savings on your bill. Use your free hour to do the laundry, heat the house, run the dishwasher, charge appliances and more. Plus Electric Kiwi guarantee that new customers will save on their power bill for the first 12 months with no contracts or break fees.
Prepay for power when it’s cheaper
Choose a provider that lets you prepay for power when it’s cheap. Powershop sell customers special Power packs allowing them to prepay for power when it’s cheaper, or pay as you go with guaranteed savings.