Switchme welcomes Flick Electric Co

Flick Electric Co are now available on Switchme


Giving you power over your power.

Flick's pricing is totally different to other power companies. Instead of charging you a fixed rate, they pass through all the wholesale costs of getting electricity to your place without any mark-up. Which saves their customers an average $350 annually!

"Our goal is lofty - to help bring an end to energy poverty in Aotearoa. Too many Kiwis ( <http://www.otago.ac.nz/centre-sustainability/otago055642.pdf> 20% according to MBIE) are subject to energy choices that impact on their wellbeing. Like choosing between food on the table and adequately heating their home. And that plain ain't right. But there's a way to reduce power bills without cutting back on the power that keeps Kiwi homes safe and comfortable. Six Wellingtonians launched a tech-based power company in 2014 to disrupt the status quo, by offering a fair and transparent way to purchase power through the wholesale electricity market. From those humble beginnings, the Flick family has grown in size, but our core values remain the same. We're built on the bones of fairness, honesty and transparency. And that's something we're flickin' proud of."

As the wholesale market pricing can change every half hour, you must already have a smart meter to be a customer with Flick so they can determine when the power is used to match with the wholesale rate at that time. The pricing we have loaded is based on the average wholesale rate from the last 12 months. This means there will be periods where the rates are higher, but also when they are lower. By using the App you can determine what the rates is at any given time, and you can choose when the best time is for you to use your power. You can take power over your power.

Warming Kiwi Homes

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New Grant Programme Launched to Help Keep Kiwi Homes Warm

Even though winter may be about the end here in New Zealand, the cold temperatures will continue to be felt by many Kiwis – especially those with low-income.

But thanks to the government’s new “Warmer Kiwi Homes” insulation programme, low-income homeowners can soon receive assistance with keeping their home warm for future winters.

$142 Million Investment into the New Kiwi Homes Grant Programme

The new grant programme can cover two-thirds of the cost of ceiling and underfloor insulation and ground moisture barriers for eligible homeowners.

The program helps to meet the promises outlined in the Coalition and Confidence and Supply Agreements with New Zealand First and the Green Party.

Grant Program Will Help Kiwis Enjoy a Warmer, Healthier Winter

Managed by The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), the four-year government grant programme is designed to help keep Kiwi homes warmer, drier and healthier.

Because the EECA is encouraging community organisations to contribute funding, the overall costs for homeowners will be as low as possible in many areas.

Although the grant’s first year is focussed on insulation costs, heating grants will become available in July 2019.

Grant Programme Will Help Ease Health System Pressure

Not only do cold temperatures bring health conditions that are costly to families, but they add strain to the country’s health system, too.

Recognizing the need for a solid solution to this problem, the government raised the level of funding per grant from 25 percent to cover two-thirds of the cost.

Are You Eligible for a Grant?

The grant programme helps bring warmth to cold, damp homes that lead to rheumatic fever and asthma – thereby targeting Kiwis who need it most.

Designed to help people who live in low decile areas or have a health condition, the grant eligibility criteria (as listed on the EECA’s website) includes:

  • Being the homeowner (owner-occupier) of a home built before 2008 AND
  • Having a Community Services Card or SuperGold combo card OR
  • Owning and living in a home in an identified lower-income area OR
  • Be referred by the Healthy Homes Initiative

To find out if you’re eligible for a grant, visit https://www.energywise.govt.nz/funding-and-support/funding-for-insulation/.

In the meanwhile, want to ensure you’re saving as much money as possible on your energy costs each month?

Complete a comparison on Switchme today to compare and switch energy providers. Contact us today for more details about our services!

2018 Entrust Dividends

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2018 Largest Dividend Process Begins this Month by Entrust

If you’re one of 327,000 Kiwis who is an Entrust consumer, you’ve probably received your dividend payment preference form by now.

The form allows people to receive a payment option that they prefer for the annual dividend which will be paid in late September.

Last year, the dividend was $350. Not only did the amount help support many households, but it also boosted Auckland’s economy by more than $110 million.

Do You Qualify for an Entrust Dividend Payout?

If your name was on the August 2 power bill for a home and/or business in the Entrust district (encompassing Auckland, Manukau, northern parts of Papakura and eastern Franklin) that is connected to Vector’s electricity network, you will probably be receiving this year’s dividend.

Entrust has a 75.1 percent shareholding in Vector. When Vector pays a dividend, almost the entire dividend is passed on to Entrust consumers.

Choose the Payment Option that Suits You Best

Payment method options on the form include cheque, direct credit to your bank account or a credit to your electricity bill. The most convenient way, via direct credit, allows consumers to receive the money without waiting for a mailed cheque or visiting the bank.

For the most part, only people who want to change their payment method will need to respond to the letter.

Ensuring the Payment Process Goes Smoothly

Want to guarantee that the payment process will be a smooth one in September? Check that the following two tasks are completed:

  • Ensure the name of the Entrust form matches the name on your bank account. If it doesn’t, get your electricity retailer to update your account name.
  • If you want to change the payment method, return the form by Monday, August 6.

What Will You Do with Your Dividend Payout?

What to do with your dividend, which is normally a significant amount for most households, is entirely up to you!

Whether you choose to pay off a bill, put it aside for Christmas or enjoy a weekend away, go ahead – enjoy!

Any Questions?

If you have not received your form by now or have any questions regarding the dividend process, check out the help page found here.

As the payment comes via the lines company, it is not affected by the retailer you use. So ensure you’re paying the best rate for your household’s energy costs! Contact Switchme today for a comparison and more details about our energy switching services.

Do Loyal Customer Pay More?

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Are Loyal Power Customers Paying More?

When was the last time you switched power companies?

If it was any longer than two years ago, then you may not be getting the best pricing option currently available.

Since the best prices and offers are usually only being offered to customers who switch to a new electricity provider, those who remain loyal may end up being the ones who pay the most.

In many cases, these customers are elderly or low-income; in other words, they are the ones who could benefit from power savings the most.

Are You Ready to Switch?

If you want to ensure you’re getting the best power deal possible, check with a website such as Switchme.

As New Zealand’s largest, non-government funded switching site, Switchme provides thousands of Kiwis each year with the best help and advice navigating the switching process.

By using the online comparison calculator, you’ll know right away if a better power deal is available. If it is, you can easily switch to the new company without having any interrupted service!

Other Options to Switching

If you’re not quite ready to switch to a new retailer but want to receive new incentives from being a loyal customer, there are options available.

First, contact your current power company and inquire about the plan you’re on. Find out if the price and service you’re receiving is actually the best one for your household’s needs.

Depending on what you require from your power company, there may be more suitable plan available. For example, is Standard or Low Using pricing the best option for your consumption? Can you get more incentives by having a direct debit or getting correspondence via email? Are you able to bundle more than one service (such as electricity and gas)? These can make a difference in cost.

Research Special Incentives

It’s also worth asking if your current power company offers any special incentives. For example, do you use a bicycle or own an electric vehicle? If so, your provider may offer you a discount or special rate.

Then, compare what you’re currently paying to what you could get from other power companies. Utilize the Switchme website to compare prices and available offers. Do your research to check and compare or call us to discuss the options.

If you’re tempted by what you see but still want to remain loyal to your current power provider, give them one last attempt. Contact them and tell them about the other company's deal and see if they are willing to offer you anything to keep you around as a customer.

Why wait any longer? Start saving money today! Contact Switchme for more details.

Win Backs and Saves

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“Win Backs” and “Saves”

We’re lucky in New Zealand. Whereas other parts of the world have monopolized electricity markets, we have the choice of almost 50 different electricity retailers. And because of the fierce competition in New Zealand’s electricity market, retailers work hard to keep us happy.

But with many retailers offering incentives to prevent customers from leaving or tantalizing deals to draw them back, the way New Zealand’s electricity retailers remain competitive is starting to be questioned.

Electricity Market Regulator Investigating Fairness of Current Market Practice

In many cases, customers who do not shop around end up paying more than customers who do – a problem identified by New Zealand’s electricity market regulator, The Electricity Authority.

“Saves” are identified as customers who are prevented from leaving before the switching process has completed. “Win-backs” are customers who return to their old retailer after the switch has gone through.

Statistics show that by offering a discount or credit on their power bills, some retailers can win back up to 40 per cent of its customers.

Although The Electricity Authority implemented a “save protection scheme” in January 2015 that provided winning retailers with the option of being protected from saves, it did not regulate win-backs. Doing so has resulted in many retailers waiting until after the switch is completed before trying to win the customer back.

The current review, led by the Market Development Advisory Group, will review the entire customer acquisition process (both saves and win-backs) and scrutinize the resulting competition effects.

How the Switching Process Works

When a customer decides they would like to shop around for a new electricity retailer, the first step is to complete some research. Switchme, New Zealand’s largest, non-government funded switching site, provides helpful information and assistance with all aspects of the switching process, and comparing the power providers.

Once a customer has switched to a new retailer, the switch is recorded in a registry. This ensures the customer receives a smooth, uninterrupted power supply and pays the correct amount to both the old and the new retailer.

The Effect on the Non-Switching Customers

Concern has been raised that loyal customers are not being offered anything for their loyalty. In fact, while on the companies default rates, they may be spending extra, which the retailer uses to offset the cost of winning back customers, or acquiring new ones. New offers with lower rates may only be available to new customers to the retailer, while existing customer are not eligable.

In many cases, customers who switch only enjoy the new, lower rates for a short period of time, too.

The Bottom Line

With its main focus on fairness, the forthcoming power review will determine if we are being well-served by the current market practice.

If it determines we’re not, the review will uncover the changes that need to be implemented.

Government’s Review of Electricity Prices

The Importance of the Government’s Review of Electricity Prices

Prior to last year’s election, Labour, the Greens and NZ First government parties all promised thorough reviews of the country’s energy sector.

And now’s the time that we see those promises come to fruition.

The New Zealand government announced that it will be conducting an energy sector review. This review will examine the price of electricity and determine what (if any) changes need to be made to keep the market fair for customers.

The Importance of a Review

Have you been noticing your power prices steadily increasing over the last several years?

If so, you’re not alone.

Over the last few years, New Zealand’s power prices have increased faster than inflation – a cause for concern to our country’s leaders.

The problem has been recognized for some time and certain solutions have been implemented already. For example, the “winter energy payment” option that the government implemented has helped lower-income New Zealanders heat their homes during the winter.

However, the reason why power prices continue to increase has never really been thoroughly examined, which is what this review intends to do.

What's Involved in the Review?

Even though you pay only one price on your energy bill, the cost of getting that power to you is much more complicated!

Power costs arise from various stages: generation (hydropower, geothermal or wind), transmission, distribution, retail and consumption. The review’s main purpose – to investigate the causes of the rising electricity costs – will examine all five of these stages.

At the same time, the review will determine if changes need to be made to the rules and regulations surrounding the energy industry.

The review will also look at how new technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels can be better managed by the sector.

The Implications of the Review

With the increasing use of these new technologies, the government needs to ensure that our energy sector will be able to successfully handle the influx.

Plus, the review aims to ensure there is greater transparency surrounding energy bills and fair pricing for customers.

More competition and consumer benefits will also likely be a result of the review.

Getting Ready for the Future

The last decade alone has seen New Zealand make huge advances in the energy sector. Having a review completed at this stage will help ensure we are prepared for the future!

To see if you’re currently getting the best price for your household’s power consumption, check out Switchme and complete a comparison today.

5 Ways to Survive a Power Outage

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5 Ways to Survive a Power Outage

Whether it’s the result of stormy weather, an accident or maintenance work, a power outage is always an inconvenience.

Other than sitting patiently in the dark waiting for it your power to come back on, do you know what to do in a power outage? If not, here are five ways to survive the next time you have no power!

  • Stay Calm

Rest assured knowing that most power outages are shortlived. In fact, they’re normally over before you even have time to find your flashlights and candles!

Do a quick investigation to see what may have caused the black-out. If you notice that your neighbours are also out of power, then check with your power company for an update.

Once you find out how long the power may be out for, ensure you have enough supplies on hand to get you through.

  • Stay Warm

Power outages are a nuisance all year round – but even more so in the winter when you have to keep warm.

Cover your windows with blankets to block any drafts, wear extra layers of clothing and if you’ve got a fireplace, make yourself a fire. When using candles, ensure you use proper candle holders and remain in the same room as the lit candles.

Plus, in very cold areas when the outage will be for a while, turn your faucets on to a drip to prevent your pipes from freezing.

  • Stay Fed and Hydrated

Prior to a storm hitting, make sure you’re well stocked on food and water.

Keep cans of soup (and a non-electric can opener!) handy. If you don’t have a gas stove, try to purchase foods that can be consumed without any cooking needed. Since most food remains frozen for up to 36 hours, don’t open your fridge or freezer unless absolutely necessary.

Depending on how long your power will be out for, you will need enough water for drinking, washing dishes, bathing and toilets. Use your bathtub as a holding tank and fill it up with water before the storm hits!

  • Stay Busy

Try not to watch the clock while you simply wait for the power to come back on!

Instead, have some old-fashioned fun playing board games and cards, reading, listening to music or simply conversing with family and friends.

  • Stay Prepared

Like most things in life, proper preparation is key to surviving a power outage.

Keep your wood burning fireplace and chimney properly maintained, install a non-electric stove or heater and consider purchasing an emergency generator. Protect electronics with a power bar and install carbon monoxide detectors that have a battery-powered back-up.

At the very least, stock up on blankets, flashlights and candles!

Hopefully in no time at all, your power will be back on!

Lowest Residential Pricing Area

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Network Tasman Residential Pricing:
Currently the Lowest in NZ Despite Recent Price Increase

Here in New Zealand, the local distribution networks is split into 29 major areas.

While you are free to shop around and compare pricing, contracts and incentives when choosing a retailer, the network company in your area will remain the same.

Network Tasman: Currently the Cheapest Energy Provider

Leading the pack of cheapest networks (currently, anyways!) is Network Tasman.

Even after increasing their electricity prices by 1.3 percent at the beginning of April, Network Tasman still provides the cheapest electricity rates in New Zealand. The recent increase adds a mere 68 cents per month (excluding GST) for the average residential connection.

Remain the Cheapest Electricity Distribution Company in NZ

Out of the 29 major electricity distribution companies found throughout New Zealand, Network Tasman is the cheapest. That’s before any discounts are even taken into account!

The company’s main focus on providing good value for money is accomplished by keeping price increases to a minimum while remaining committed to maintaining their core electricity networks. The safety, reliability and capacity of their networks always remain a priority.

Currently Almost 40,000 Consumer Connections in South Island

As the owner and operator of the electricity distribution network in the greater Nelson and Tasman areas (minus Nelson City), Network Tasman distributes power to almost 40,000 consumer connections.

Wholly owned by the Network Tasman Trust, a consumer trust, Network Tasman provides power to the north-western corner of the South Island.

Regulated by the Commerce Commission

Network Tasman’s “commitment to good value for money” is not just for marketing purposes! Their line charges over the last two years have averaged $2 million annually below what the Commerce Commission permits to charge as a regulated electricity lines company.

Plus, Network Tasman’s prices charged to retailers for using both the electricity distribution network and the national gride amount to approximately one-third of retail electricity paid by consumers.

Switchme can help make sure you are on the best rates available!

While you can not change the network company supplying your property, Switchme can help you compare pricing for your area. For almost a decade, Switchme, New Zealand’s largest, non-governmental funded energy switching site, has been helping Kiwis save on their energy bill. By offering an online, easy-to-use calculator, Kiwis are easily able to compare energy prices.

The online switch application only has three steps, which means you can start saving energy costs quickly!

For your business, Contact Switchme today to learn more about how we can help you identify and switch to the best energy providers in your network region. Start enjoying the cheapest pricing rates in as little as five days!

3 Reasons to Reduce Peak Energy

3 Reasons To Reduce Peak Energy Use Now

You probably already know that it’s cheaper to use energy on off-peak times. But besides cost savings, did you know that there other benefits to off-peak energy use, too?

A recent report from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) outlines the many advantages associated with reducing peak energy use. Here are three of them.

The Environment Would Benefit

One of the main reasons why power companies still rely on their coal plants is to keep up with peak energy usage.

Coal plants create numerous environmental damages, including greenhouse gas emissions, mining destruction and waste generation.

Reducing peak energy use could decrease (and possibly eliminate) the need for coal plants, thus creating a much healthier environment for Kiwis to live in.

Fewer Infrastructure Upgrades Would be Needed

If peak demand was decreased, millions of dollars could be saved in the cost of electricity infrastructure.

Less strain being put on the electricity networks’ infrastructure (and thus eliminating “peak energy times”) would bring a reduction in infrastructure upgrades.

And since the majority of customised price path (CPP) applications to the Commerce Commission are to fund network upgrades, there should be fewer price increases, too.

Cheaper Electricity Could be Produced

Approximately half of New Zealand’s power companies’ costs are for maintaining their network’s capacity to deliver energy at peak times.

The report found that if more Kiwis made an effort to reduce their energy needs during peak times, the overall cost of supplying electricity to New Zealand households could be reduced by $30 million annually.

Achieving Better Energy Efficiency Starts with YOU!

There are several ways you can help the New Zealand government achieve its goal of having 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2050. Here are some of them:

  • Program your appliances to run overnight, rather than in the evening
  • Switch your incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs to LED
  • Install a heat pump for more efficient space heating
  • Charge your electric vehicle at off-peak times
  • Use energy-efficient products and appliances

Simply being more aware of your household’s energy usage is a great place to start when trying to become more energy efficient. And when it comes time to replacing bulbs or other household products, consider the long-term running costs rather than just the initial expense.

Save on Energy with Switchme

While becoming more energy efficient and reducing peak energy use, why not shop around for a better energy provider?

Switchme, New Zealand’s largest, non-government funded switching site helps you save on your monthly energy costs! Using our free, online switching program, enjoy cost-savings benefits from a new energy provider in only five minutes. Contact us today for more details!

The Truth About Owning an Electric Car

Image result for electric car new zealandThe Truth About Owning an Electric Car

Sure, you may know how environmentally friendly and efficient electric vehicles (EVs) are to run. But do you ever wonder what the disadvantages may be to owning your own EV? Here are the top two to consider before making that purchase.

They Can Cause Range Anxiety

EVs can only go so far without needing to be plugged in again. This isn’t a problem if you’re just driving around town and can easily find a charge station if needed. However, this can be an entirely different problem if you’re planning on driving a long distance and haven’t accounted for weather, hills and road gradients.

The good news: Not knowing if you have enough energy in your vehicle to get you where you need to go can create anxiety on the drive there. But, this issue may soon be a thing of the past with the new EV models being produced, with certain models having a range of up to 500 kilometres!

Plus, charging stations will soon be located every 75 kilometres along our country’s highways, with most of them already installed.

Remember, charging takes time, though – so extra time would need to be accounted for if the charging station is needed during your travels!

They Are Expensive to Purchase

There’s no arguing the fact that EVs are definitely less expensive to run compared to a petrol car. In fact, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) have said that driving an EV is 15 percent of the cost of running a similar sized petrol car.

Besides the running cost, EVs are also less expensive to maintain – since they don’t have as many moving parts as a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Although they are cheaper to run, the fact remains that EVs are less affordable to purchase in the beginning. Plus, the high upfront cost can take years to recoup, depending on your driving habits.

Car batteries can lose range over time and will eventually need to be replaced. Resale value can be affected because of this.

The good news: Prices for EVs is already substantially cheaper than they were years ago. For example, a brand new Nissan Leaf (which originally cost $69,000) now sells for $39,000, with second-hand models being a much more affordable option.

Car batteries currently last about 8-10 years (and are normally covered by manufacturers for a similar warranty period). Technology is improving and making battery replacement cheaper with time.

Save More on Your Energy Bill with Switchme

If you own an EV or not, Switchme can help you easily compare power companies to find the most affordable supplier to charge your EV or run the rest of your home. This will help save you money and reduce your energy cost.

Recent Price Increases

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Recent Price Increases in the Energy Industry

Change continuously happens in life and New Zealand’s electricity distribution industry is no exception! Here are some of the latest changes regarding our power suppliers.

Powerco’s Price Increase Will Help Upgrade Network

In order to fund a $1.27 billion upgrade to its network, the Commerce Commission recently approved Powerco’s price increase application.

Deeming the upgrade necessary to maintain a safe, secure and reliable network for customers, the Commerce Commission approved the price increase as of April 1.

As part of the application approval, Powerco is required to report on its investment to both the commission and its consumers on a yearly basis.

Wellington Electricity’s Rate Increase to Help with Earthquake Preparedness

An additional $31 million was approved by the Commerce Commission to help improve the network’s resilience to major earthquakes.

Last December, Wellington Electricity had submitted their urgent application which documented the need to strengthen its substations and purchase emergency equipment and critical spares.

The investment is expected to cost the average Wellington Electricity consumer an addition $1.70 each month.

Potential Rate Increases in the Future for Aurora

In early March, electricity provider Aurora (which serves Dunedin, Central Otago and Queenstown) started an independent review of its electricity network to pursue a price increase. The electricity provider’s older network is in need of repairs, which the price increase (if approved) will help cover.

The company has already notified the Commerce Commission of its desire to launch a customized price path (CPP) beginning in mid-2020. If approved, the distribution line charge on customers’ bills will be increased to fund future network investment. The actual price increase has yet to be decided.

This past December, the company finished a $30 million fast-track pole programme, which saw 2800 of the network’s worst poles replaced.

Over the upcoming decade, an investment of more than $700 million is planned by the company to improve its ageing network.

Commerce Commission Plays a Part in Price Increases

Although any lines company can apply for a CPP (with most applications seeking line charges to fund network upgrades), the Commerce Commission closely analyzes applications.

The end goal is that a balanced price-quality path for both companies and consumers can be achieved.

Switchme Helps You Get the Best Rate!

With the constant changes in New Zealand’s electricity industry, you need a trusted ally to help you get the best rate! That’s where a Switchme comparison comes in.

As the country’s largest, non-government funded energy switching site, Switchme aims to simplify the energy switching process. By providing free, independent advice to New Zealand business and residential energy customers, Switchme gets customers the energy rates they deserve.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you get the best energy rate currently available!

Save with LED Lightbulbs

Image result for led bulbSave Big with LED Lightbulbs

Looking to save money could be accomplished as easily as switching on your lights…But only if those lights use LED lightbulbs!

Simply switching to LED light bulbs in your household could save an average of $100 and $150 annually on your power bill. Not only do LED bulbs use less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, but they also last approximately 15 times longer.

How Much Less Energy do LED Bulbs Use?

While still providing the same amount of light as an incandescent bulb, an LED bulb uses 85 percent less power. Plus, each LED bulb is meant to last 15,000 hours – compared to an incandescent bulb’s lifespan of only 1000 hours and a compact fluorescent lightbulb’s (CFL) lifespan of 10,000 hours!

How Do LED Bulbs Work?

The light-emitting diodes produced in an LED bulb are semiconductors. When electrons move through this type of semiconductor, light is produced. Compared to their counterparts (incandescent and CFL bulbs), LED lights are more efficient at producing light from energy. As a result, less energy is wasted from the bulb and turned into heat.

Even with the benefits afforded by switching to LED, only half of New Zealand households have made the switch so far.

Slowly, More People are Making the Switch to LED Bulbs

Although only half of New Zealand’s households have made the switch to LED, that’s still better than three years ago when only 18 percent had made the switch.

New Zealanders remain fans of old-fashioned incandescent bulbs; an average of 13 of this type of bulb is still found in each household. Concerns about reliability and energy-saving claims tend to be preventing more New Zealand households from making the switch.

However, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) tries to counter those arguments by encouraging consumers to buy from brands they know and keep receipts in-case the bulbs don’t last as long as promised.

Choosing the Best LED Bulb for Your Household’s Needs

When selecting LED bulbs for your home, review the packaging to compare the wattage of the old incandescent you were using. This would help create a similar brightness. Also, choose whether you want a warm or cool light.

If you would rather not replace all the bulbs at once in your home, replace them in areas most frequently used (like the kitchen) first. This would provide the best return on investment.

Renting? Consider the LED bulbs a fixture and take them with you when you move! Replace them with incandescent bulbs on your way out.

Save Even More by Switching More than Just Your Bulbs!

Although the cost for an LED bulb is higher than other types of bulbs, keep in mind that they usually pay themselves off within the first year – and last for at least nine more.

Other than switching your lightbulbs for cost-savings measures, why not consider switching your energy provider? Let Switchme show you how easy it can be to start saving even more money!

Electric Vehicles (EVs) slow uptake

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Where are the Vehicles to Use New Zealand’s Electric Vehicle Infrastructure?

Although New Zealand’s electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure is almost ready, it seems that Kiwis are not adopting EVs as fast.

Soon, charging stations will be available every 75 kilometres along our country’s highways. Currently, there are 97 rapid-charging stations available nationwide, with an additional 30 being constructed.

Yet the electric vehicle uptake by Kiwis has been slow. Regardless of New Zealand government’s goal of having 64,000 on the road by 2021, there are currently only almost 7,000 according to Drive Electric.

Government Leads the Way

Having government agencies lead the way can make undecided businesses more inclined to adopt EVs for their fleet, too.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is one such example of a government agency leading the way. Recently, the NZTA committed to purchasing 48 EVs to join the agency’s fleet this year.

Eventually, the fleet cars used by both government agencies and private companies would make their way into the second-hand market. This would help increase the nation’s pool of EVs.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles

Around the globe, countries are seeing the benefits of encouraging more EVs on their roads. Benefits include:

Environmentally-Friendly: Undoubtedly, the biggest benefit of electric vehicles is their lack of environmental impact. Their zero exhaust emissions help reduce harmful air pollution. When recharged with renewable energy rather than the grid, greenhouse gas emissions are further reduced. Plus, many EVs are produced from recycled materials, using a more eco-friendly production process.

Cost-Savings: Although the initial cost of purchasing an EV can be costly, they offer future cost savings. Not only are they cheaper to run than a petrol vehicle, but they also require less maintenance.

Health Benefits: Less noise pollution is produced since they’re quieter to run than gas-powered vehicles. Due to the lack of exhaust emissions, less harmful air pollution’s also produced.

Why Aren’t More Kiwis Converting from Gas-Powered?

With the many benefits widely known regarding EVs, the question remains as to why more Kiwis aren’t converting from petrol vehicles. Below are some possible reasons:

  • Unknown Depreciation: Being a relatively new concept, the depreciation surrounding EVs is unknown.
  • Range anxiety: Concern about whether the EV will have enough battery power to reach the destination (or a suitable charging station).
  • Visual Design: To some people, EVs lack a certain visual dignity that’s offered by non-electric type vehicles.

Save on Your Energy Costs with Switchme!

Want to know how to save on your energy costs now – without purchasing an EV? Switchme offers a free, easy and convenient way to see if you’re overpaying on your energy costs. Contact us today to learn more about our power company comparison services!

Switching Power Companies

How to Avoid Problems when Switching Power Companies

Are you annoyed with the customer service at your current power company?

Are you tired of paying more than your neighbour does for the same energy services?

If so, you’re not alone! An increasing number of fellow Kiwis have been making the switch to a new energy supplier. But before you do the same, eliminate any problems during the switch by checking out the following details first.

More Choice = Better Rates for Kiwis

The number of electricity companies continues to increase in New Zealand. With a total of 48 electricity brands (backed by 32 companies), there are now 12 more companies than last year.

With the increase in electricity companies comes an increase in the competition field. As a result, better pricing or deals on energy become available for New Zealanders.

Ask the Right Questions Before Your Switch

Now’s the time to review the contract you initially signed with your current energy supplier! If you no longer have a copy of your contract, contact your supplier who should have one in your file.

Carefully review the details to see what’s entailed with breaking your contract. Check details such as:

  • Break-Fee: See what the fee would be to break your contract before its end date. Compare the cheaper, new supplier’s rates to the break-fee to see the difference. If your current supplier has an expensive break-fee, it may not be worth switching at the present time.
  • Automatic Renewal: Some companies have a clause in their contract that allows them to automatically renew their customers’ contract agreements. This date can creep up quickly on customers, so be sure to mark it down if you’re thinking of switching companies. That way, you’ll know when your deadline is to decide if you’re switching companies – before you’re automatically renewed again.
  • Pricing Details: Become familiar with how your current rate and service compare to the competition. Don’t be afraid to ask your current supplier if they can offer you a better plan. Who knows? They may be willing to give you a deal, rather than risk losing you as a customer to the competition.

After you’ve done your due diligence and would still like to switch to a new energy supplier, let Switchme help. For almost a decade, we have helped customers complete energy comparisons and assist them in the switching process.

Contact us or click here www.switchme.co.nz today to learn more about how our free, convenient service can make switching energy suppliers easy!

Strain of Electric Vehicles (EVs) to New Zealand’s Electricity Network could affect pricing.

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Electric Vehicles (EVs) add Strain to New Zealand’s Electricity Network

With the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) in New Zealand, a potential new strain has been added to the country’s electricity network.

One in 15 Auckland households is predicted to have an electric vehicle within three years, which worries network companies and could affect pricing.

Vector’s Newly Released “Green Paper”

Lines company Vector’s recently released green paper suggests that New Zealand needs to create a solid strategy to deal with the country’s uptake of EVs.

The company is especially concerned that suburban homes requiring EV charging would add an additional strain to the electricity network. When electricity networks were originally created, they were based on the number of homes on the street. Since a big-battery EV adds the equivalent of one to 20 houses’ power needs, there could be electricity network problems if the use of EVs continues to grow.

Even if EVs do not continue to increase in popularity, Vector states that there could still be problems. If current EV owners charge during peak time or use faster-charging options, extra strain could be put on the network. Since many owners decide to charge their cars after getting home after work (at the same time that households use appliances to cook), the supply of electricity could become compromised.

Suggestions to Help with the Strain

Concept Consulting, which has previously argued that EVs are better for the New Zealand environment than solar power, suggests a potential solution.

If electricity networks offered a more cost-effective time-of-use pricing model, less strain could be put on the network. For example, EV owners could be motivated to charge their cars after 9 pm if a better pricing model was offered.

Some electricity companies have already been offering cheaper pricing for EV owners that charge their vehicles overnight – but more are needed to make a difference.

Benefits of Electric Vehicles (EVs)

It’s worthwhile to solve the issue regarding the strain on the electricity network, as EVs offer Kiwis numerous benefits!

Not only are EVs cheaper to run and maintain, but they offer numerous environmental and health benefits. EVs have zero exhaust emissions, can be created using eco-friendly materials and offer the option for charging with renewable energy.

The better air quality created means fewer health problems and costs associated with air pollution.

In addition, less noise pollution is produced by EVs as compared to petrol/diesel vehicles.

Contact Switchme Today to Save on Your Energy Costs

Besides purchasing an EV, are you interested in other cost-savings measures regarding your energy usage?

If so, Switchme offers an easy, convenient way to see if a cheaper energy provider is available. Contact us today to use our online, convenient comparison calculator to start saving today!

Power Prices Increasing For Wellington Residents

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Higher Energy Costs Coming from Wellington Electricity

When earthquakes happen in the Wellington region, thousands of Kiwis are affected.

The only way to minimize an earthquake’s effects on this power grid? Make the electricity network stronger so that it can become earthquake-proof.

Wellington Electricity’s Recent Application to the Commerce Commission

When its rates were initially set in 2014, Wellington Electricity (WE) had no way of knowing the resilience expenditure that would be required. That’s why Wellington Electricity, which distributes power to approximately 166,000 homes and businesses in the Wellington region, formally applied to the Commerce Commission last December for a customized price-quality path.

The Commerce Commission has initially approved WE’s recover cost proposal.

Wellington Electricity’s Proposal to Recover the Costs

When the earthquakes happened recently, WE had to bring in not only enhanced communication systems but also emergency hardware, switchboards and mobile substations. Plus, seismic reinforcement was necessary for the substations.

To help recover the cost of these unexpected expenditures, WE has been given the go ahead to charge regional consumers an extra $1.90 to the consumer’s average bill of $160.

This monthly increase will help recover the $31 million needed to earthquake-strengthen the capital’s electricity network.

It’s expected that as long as the cost of energy and other components go unchanged, monthly bills will be reduced the following year due to the lower transmission charges from Transpower.

Commission Agrees to WE’s Proposal

The Commission views the extra expenditure as being costed appropriately and is confident that it will make the Wellington network better situated to withstand a major earthquake.

WE will need to prove that it has made the resilience improvements and will be penalised for under-delivery.

Compare power companies using Switchme

Are you a current Wellington Electricity customer that will soon experience a rate increase? Want to ensure no other energy company can offer you a cheaper rate? If so, let Switchme help!

See the listing here: Switchme - Compare power prices

In only two steps using our free, online energy comparison calculator, you’ll be able to see right away how your energy rate stacks up against the competition’s rates. Paying more? Then we can easily help you switch your energy company and get you saving money right away!

Contact us today for more details about how we can save you money on your energy bill.

Passive House Concept Creates Healthier Homes and Reduces Electricity Costs

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Passive House Concept Creates Healthier Homes and Reduces Electricity Costs

Growing in popularity worldwide, energy efficient “passive homes” have made it to New Zealand now, too. Matamata has the first certified “passive home” and the second in the Waikato.

A German Technique Used to Create Energy Efficiency

Made of triple-glazed windows, extra thick walls, plenty of insulation and other technologies, a PassivHaus (Passive House) is a German technique used to create an airtight, energy-efficient building.

Using climate data collected from Niwa and NASA, architects design a home that’s suitable to the exact climate and building site.

In passive homes, the heat lost and gained from sunlight and insulation is controlled to reach the optimum year-round temperature of about 20 degrees. The homes regulate their own temperature regardless of outside temperatures, with little or no active heating or cooling.

As a result, the home’s interior is consistently comfortable, healthy and dry.

Reduce Electricity Costs

In addition to creating a healthier living environment, passive houses reduce electricity costs, too.

The owner of the Passive House in Matamata has seen energy costs in his 1920s refurbished home decrease over $200 each month!

Building Industry Benefits from Passive Builds

A passive home performs three or four times better than newly built homes.

Compared to an average home build, there are many different elements involved when building a passive home.

Although more challenging than building a traditional home, the end results are more than worthwhile!

Passive Homes Provide Long-Term Value

Since building costs in New Zealand are already expensive, many people do not even consider building a passive home – which costs even more.

A homeowner considering building a passive home needs to realize that although it initially costs more to build, a healthier, more comfortable home with lower running costs will be enjoyed over the long-term.

Once homeowners realize the long-term value, the higher cost associated with designing and building a passive home becomes easier to absorb.

Switchme Can Save You on Energy Costs!

Looking for a less cost-intensive way than building a passive home to lower your home’s energy costs? If so, have you considered using Switchme’s services?

By using an online system that easily compares alternate energy suppliers, easily see what switching energy companies can do to your monthly energy bill!

Contact us today to learn more about why we’re the largest, non-government funded energy switching site!

48 Brands and a record number of power switches

Image result for increasing graphRecord Number of Power Company Switches in 2017

Are you one of the record number of New Zealanders who made the switch to another electricity company during 2017?

If not, what are you waiting for?!

Almost 441,000 Kiwis Switched Companies in 2017

It’s no surprise that 2017 now holds the record for the number of Kiwis who switched power companies. With more and more New Zealanders realizing the options when it comes to energy companies and more energy companies entering the market, more switches are being made.

In fact, almost 441,000 households switched to another power company last year as opposed to almost 418,000 households in 2015.

Compared to 22 years ago, there are currently 48 retail brands in the energy market, making shopping around a smart consumer decision.

Whether you want to get a better deal or take advantage of an innovative business model, switching is worth looking into!

Save Money – and Headaches

No longer are Kiwis resigned to stick with a power company if they’re unhappy with their service. Due to the high competition in the retail electricity market, there are many other companies that could be used to provide New Zealanders with the same service.

Not only does New Zealand’s competitive electricity market make it easy to switch when you’re unhappy with your provider, but it also provides a great way to save money. Certain companies not only offer better prices, but there may be credits and freebies that you’re eligible for from the new company.

Plus, electricity products can now be purchased in ways unavailable in the past – saving headaches with billing.

Competition Keeps the Market Stable

Because of the competitive pressure in the electricity market, prices have remained stable in both the retail and wholesale components.

Plus, the increased competition gives retailers of all sizes a chance to secure new customers. New companies in the electricity market are creating innovative offers to attract new consumers and grow their customer base by up to 20 percent.

And it looks like it’s working: more than 10 percent of the retail market is now comprised of these small and medium-size retailers!

Switchme Makes Switching Power Companies Easy!

With Switchme, New Zealand’s biggest, non-government funded switching site, it’s easy to see if you can get a better energy deal!

With our free online comparison calculator, find out right away (in only two steps!) if you could be saving money by switching. If so, we make the process easy and are here to help you along the way!

Why wait? Check out https://switchme.co.nz/ today to find out how much money you could be saving by switching your electricity provider!

Recommendations from Utilities Disputes about Setting Up a Flat’s Power Supply

We get it – there’s a lot to do when you move into a new flat.

Between packing up all of your things, arranging for movers and cancelling any services at your old flat, moving can quickly become an overwhelming task. It’s easy to understand how one key step in the moving process gets overlooked!

Many times, new tenants forget to take a picture of the meter when they move into their new flat. But forgetting to do this one key task can end up costing you a lot in the future.

Complete Due Diligence to Prevent Problems

The Utilities Disputes Commissioner, Nanette Moreau, can recall numerous cases of new tenants receiving high power bills after moving into a new flat. Normally, this is due to previous tenants not properly closing their accounts. The new tenant suffers by receiving a super high bill and possibly even a disconnection notice.

New tenants that complete their due diligence can save themselves a lot of headaches down the road.

Moving? Complete Your Due Diligence

The best way to avoid the stress and headaches involved with a utilities dispute is to open and close your account correctly in the first place.

Here are some other tips from Utilities Disputes, who is responsible for investigating electricity and gas complaints:

  • Upon moving in, snap a photo of the meter display. Make sure the numbers are clearly displayed in the photo.
  • Compare energy rates on https://switchme.co.nz/ from different providers. Use the online comparison calculator to instantly see what your options are regarding energy providers.
  • Choose which energy provider you will be going with and set up your new account.
  • Sit down with your flatmates and decide how paying power bills will be handled. Document this arrangement in writing!
  • After receiving your first bill from your energy provider, review it carefully. If you have any questions, contact your provider.
  • When you decide to move out of the flat, take a photo of the meter display. Call your energy provider to properly close your account.

Make the Proper Payment Arrangements with Your Flatmates

Remember: the person named as the account holder is responsible for all future bills. That’s why it’s important that you document your payment arrangements in writing with your flatmates.

If the account holder moves out, ensure the account holder details are updated with your provider.

Hydro Lakes Suffering from NZ’s Hot, Dry Weather

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We understand how much you’ve probably been suffering from the recent heat wave through New Zealand!

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been trying to stay in air-conditioned buildings, are minimizing outdoor activity and are dressing as comfortably as possible – while watching the skies for a rainfall to eventually break the heatwave!

Our country’s hydro lakes are a whole other matter, though. They have no way of escaping the effects of these scorching hot temperatures, which have resulted in plummeting lake levels and rising energy costs.

Numerous Contributing Factors for Low Lake Levels

The summer’s warm temperatures are causing a domino of effects regarding the country’s hydro lake levels.

For one, the snowy hills in the Mackenzie country have been melted away because of the sun. Plus, there hasn’t been a decent rainfall in the last few weeks. Both Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki depend on winter snow storage and westerly rains in the mountains to remain topped up.

Power Companies Urge Consumers Not To Be Concerned

Although power authorities are closely monitoring the South Island’s falling hydro lake levels, they say they aren’t cause for consumers to be worried yet.

On average, summer is when NZ experiences a lot of rain in the South Island – and there is still a lot of summer left.

When that happens, lake levels will go back up and generators that depend on rain for the coming winter will be ready.

Other Sources of Generation Being Used in Meantime

With almost 65 percent of New Zealand’s power generation relying on hydro electricity, the energy industry has been implementing some hydro lake level saving measures.

Among other energy sources, coal and gas are being used to help conserve the falling lake levels.

Ensure You’ve Got the Best Rate on Your Energy Bill

With energy spot rates at a high, there’s no time better than the present to ensure you’re getting the best deal on your energy rates. And with Switchme’s online energy comparison calculator, there’s really no easier way!

Our convenient, user-friendly software helps countless Kiwis secure the best energy deal every day. In only two steps, you can soon be on your way to counting your energy savings!

Let us show you how easy it truly can be to start saving on your energy bill! Contact us today for more details.