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How to get on top of winter power costs

April 9th, 2014 -

The pain of winter power bills

Have you received a letter from your electricity provider recently? You probably expected it to tell you of an increase in your electricity price – but you may have been surprised by the amount of the increase.

Since 2005 electricity prices have gone up at almost double the rate of inflation. Disconnections have been trending up also and will reach a peak this winter.

Electricity demand is flat, but instead of competing on prices, the big retailers are spending more on marketing – go figure! And people on low user plans are receiving even higher percentage increases than standard plans.

Living in a cold damp house increases the likelihood of colds, flu and asthma, so you don’t really have too many options as a consumer. 

What you can do about it

We’d recommend you get your last power bill and go to www.powerswitch.org.nz to see if you are getting the cheapest electricity. You can actually change providers using the powerswitch website.

A high proportion of household power goes on water and space heating which will likely skyrocket this winter. You might economize by buying second hand appliances, but often these are more expensive to run.

Go to www.consumer.org.nz or www.energywise.govt.nz for some really useful tips on how to be warm and save money on power.

To make winter power bills relatively painless

When you’ve done all of the above, work out how much your winter power bill might be at the peak and start paying this at the start of winter. This will help ease paying through the coldest months of winter.

It will also mean you are not at risk of paying penalty rates or disconnection fees, which add substantially to your bill and just make the next power bill even harder to meet. Your Credit Union can help you work this out and set up the payments to work automatically.

 

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