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 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

Image result for passive House new zealand

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 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 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.

All-Electric Car Sharing Service Launched in Christchurch

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All-Electric Car Sharing Service Launched in Christchurch

As an international leader in eco-friendliness, it was only a matter of time before New Zealand started an all-electric car sharing service.

As of February 15, that day has officially arrived!

First of Its Kind in New Zealand

The only city in New Zealand to offer a full fleet of electric cars in their car sharing service, Christchurch is also one of the few cities in the world.

Toronto, Paris, Singapore and San Diego are other cities around the globe looking to reduce emissions and congestion by launching a similar service.

Created by The Christchurch City Council

Brainstormed, researched and launched by the Christchurch City Council, this new car sharing service is being managed by Yoogo Share.

Launched to help the Council reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, the fully battery powered electric car sharing service will also deliver improved environmental and health outcomes.

Various Stages Will Launch Certain Hubs Around the City

In stage one of launching the car share service to the public, Hyundai Ioniq and BMWi3 were made available in in the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu car park, the West End car park and at Christchurch International Airport.

In April, ten or more hubs will be added to the service, which will then be up to 100 battery electric vehicles. This second stage of the program’s launch will be funded through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s Low Emission Vehicles contestable fund.

Hubs to be added in stage two will be at The Crossing car park, the Ara Institute, Canterbury University, Papanui and Fendalton libraries and the Lyttelton Community Centre.

Numerous Benefits of Using Electric Vehicles

Having an all-electric car sharing service offers numerous benefits for Kiwis.

Besides having a lack of tail pipe emissions that will reduce the city’s carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality, this type of service will reduce traffic congestion and provide commuters with more transportation options.

Plus, it will play a huge role in reaching the government’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Switchme Can Save You Money

Besides using the new all-electric car sharing service, are you looking for other ways to save on your energy costs? If so, check out Switchme’s free energy comparison calculator!

In only a matter of moments, easily compare what you’re currently paying for energy costs to other options. We’ll even help you complete an easy online switch application!

Contact us today to receive our free, independent advice about the energy switching process.

clubenergynz is now on Switchme!

Here is another reason to check out Switchme, New Zealand’s non-government funded energy switching site. clubenergynz has now been launched on the site.

energyclubnz is a brand new electricity provider, launched to give kiwis a fair deal and is proud to be a trusted Stuff business, who house other Kiwi brands like Stuff Fibre, Neighbourly and Done Health Insurance. energyclubnz delivers electricity at cost for a small weekly club fee, we keep it simple with no fixed term contracts, no risk, no paperwork, no break fees and no surprises. Enjoy the right rates for your property and great customer service all while we try and save you a few dollars to keep those lights and smiles on.

energyclubnz is the only retailer in New Zealand that doesn't profit from you using more electricity - join the club to help you save and manage your home energy.

energyclubnz can currently supply in, Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington, and Hamilton.

What are Smart Meters?

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What are Smart Meters?

You’re probably already familiar with what an electricity meter is, but do you know about a smart meter?

This type of meter not only provides your electricity retailer with details of your household’s electricity usage, but it does so at regular half hour intervals. Doing so means that your electricity company no longer needs to provide an estimate of your household’s usage by referring to historical data! Instead, they are provided with the exact amount of power each month.

With a smart meter, more accurate invoices are provided each and every month!

Transmitting the Data Easily from the Smart Meter

The metering equipment provider transfers your usage details, as well as your Installation Control Point (ICP) number. Instead of using your address, the ICP identifies your connection point as a reference to your location on the grid network.

When your data is received by your retailer, your ICP number is matched to your account details. Your electricity usage is then easily recorded on your account.

Keeping Your Data Safe

There’s no need to worry about how your data’s protected when using a smart meter!

Not only is the data encrypted on its way to the retailer using the ICP number, but the Privacy Act 1993 and The Electricity Industry Participation Code 2010 provide extra security.

Plus, meter data is only ever released to the authorized person on the account.

Addressing Your Health Concerns

Because smart meters use a frequency that’s lower than a cell phone or microwave, the amount of radiation emitted is well below New Zealand limits.

The signal is sent at only short periods of time and since smart meters are normally located outside your home, even less exposure occurs.

Tracking Tools Available

Interested in being able to see exactly how much power is being consumed in your household? Some electricity companies offer online tools that enable smart meter users to track their household’s power consumption.

This provides a great way to be able to implement cost-saving strategies for energy consumption!

Contact Switchme to Save Even More on Your Energy Bill!

Besides using a smart meter, have you considered changing energy suppliers to see if a lower-cost option is available? If so,Switchme makes researching these options easy!

As New Zealand’s largest non-government funded energy switching site, Switchme can be trusted to find you the best deal on your energy bill. By processing energy comparisons and giving free, independent advice, we help customers all the time save money.

Contact us today to learn how you, too, can start saving money on your energy costs!?

Types of Heat Pumps

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Types of Heat Pumps

We know that choosing the right type of heat pump for your household’s needs can be confusing. Besides many different manufacturers to choose from, each model offers something different – making the decision a difficult one.

That’s why we’ve broken down the most common types used throughout New Zealand. Read on to discover which heat pump would be the best fit to keep your household at the optimal temperature all year round!

Considerations to Make Prior to Purchasing a Heat Pump

Heat pumps can be costly – one unit installed can easily cost a few thousand dollars! Making the proper considerations prior to making a purchase can save you from making the wrong decision, and wasting money.

Think about the following prior to making your heat pump purchase:

1.Size and Position of Heat Pump: It’s important that you choose the correct size of heat pump for the space you need. Choosing one that is too small for your home will result in higher energy bills since your unit will be working harder. Check with an expert to see what their advice is on the proper heat pump for your space.

2.Energy Efficiency: Energy efficiency varies across heat pump models, so it’s worth using the energy-wise running cost calculator to see the costs associated with running a certain unit.

3.Air Filtration: If air quality is important to you and your family members (especially for those with health concerns), look for a unit that has been approved by the Asthma Foundation NZ Sensitive Choice Program.

4.Output: How powerful your unit is makes a difference with how hard it will have to work to heat or cool your home.

Air Source Heat Pumps: Most Commonly Used Throughout New Zealand

Air source heat pumps are by far the most common type of residential unit in New Zealand. There are three main models of air source heat pumps:

1.Split Heat Pumps: Comprised of two main components, split heat pumps have one inside unit which can be mounted on any wall, floor or ceiling and an outdoor unit.

2.Multi-Split Heat Pumps: Although very similar to split heat pumps, multi-split heat pumps have a larger single outdoor unit. By serving more than one indoor unit, this type of pump can provide heating and cooling across a bigger space.

3.Ducted Heat Pumps: Want to eliminate the look of a noticeable indoor unit? Then a ducted heat pump may be the unit for you! Although more costly than the other types of a heat pump, a ducted system has an outdoor unit as well as flexible ducting. This type of system runs throughout your floor and ceiling to heat and cool your space through household vents.

Other than air source heat pumps, geothermal and absorption heat pumps are also available for more niche climates and purposes.

Lower Your Energy Costs!

Now that you have more knowledge about heat pumps, want to learn about other ways you can lower your energy costs? If so, Switchme can help!

By processing energy comparisons and giving free, independent advice, Switchme helps customers save on their monthly energy costs. Contact us today to learn how you, too, can save money on your energy costs!

How to Get a Discount on Your Household’s Electricity Costs

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How to Get a Discount on Your Household’s Electricity Costs

It’s always a great time to save money – but even more so when it’s just after the holiday season! If you’re looking for ways to save on your household costs, have you considered ways to save on your electricity bill?

Good Customers Get Rewarded by Electricity Retailers

Many electricity retailers reward customers with savings when they make the company’s billing processes easier. Taking advantage of these types of discounts is a great way to reduce your overall electricity costs!

Start saving on your energy bill today by getting some the discounts below:

Prompt Payment Discount

Customers who pay their energy bills in full and on time are appreciated by electricity retailers! Time (and money) is saved by the retailer when they do not have to chase a customer for a payment. Because of this, great customers can be rewarded 10 to 20 percent off their energy costs!

Direct Debit Discount

Depending on the electricity retailer, changing the method of payment can sometimes result in an electricity discount! Check with your retailer to see if making a simple change to a direct debit payment will result in lower energy costs.

Email Correspondence Discount

Mailing items through the post can really add up for a company – especially those that have thousands of customers! Many times, electricity retailers offer a discount of 1 – 2 percent when customers opt to receive their bill and other correspondence through email.

Dual Fuel Discount

Do you require more than one type of energy to your home? Stacking services with your retailer can result in cost savings each month! For example, choosing the same energy provider to supply both electricity and gas to your home can result in a bonus discount for you!

Enjoy the Extra Savings!

Wondering what other changes can be made to result in cost savings on your energy bill? Discounts differ by the retailer, so it’s worth checking to see what type of discount you can utilize. Simply call your retailer today and ask what changes you can make to start saving money!

Switchme is here to Help You Save Even More Money!

After checking with your electricity retailer to see what types of savings you can get, it’s worth seeing if another retailer can save you even more money. Switchmecan help compare other energy providers’ rates!

To help you get the best price on your household’s energy costs, check out our free, online comparison calculator to find out what other energy suppliers could cost you. Contact Switchme today for more details about our services!

5 Ways to Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

With the warm weather now upon us, it’s important to keep your home as naturally cool as possible. Not only does this save money on energy costs, but finding natural ways to do so is environmentally friendly, too!

Below are some of the best ways to keep your home – and your family – as cool as possible during these warm summer months.

Ensure Your Home’s Properly Insulated

Your home’s insulation is the best barrier to keeping heat from transferring inside. Ensure you have the appropriate roof and wall insulation to keep your home as cool as possible.

Use Proper Shades

Having proper window hoods and well-designed eaves can provide numerous benefits. Not only do they help keep out the heat during the summer months, but they can invite sun in during the cold winter months, too.

Insulated window films are an alternative to blinds and provide similar cooling benefits.

Large Openings Allow for Cross Ventilation

Having large openings throughout your home can help with replacing hot air inside with cool air from outside. In addition, the home’s inhabitants will perspire less as breezes help cool the body!

Have rooms that you don’t utilize often? Consider closing their doors to help direct cool air to the home’s more populated areas.

Make the most of the cooler temperatures at nighttime by opening the windows to allow a cross breeze. Just remember to close them in the morning before the heat comes in!

Install Water Features Around Your Home

Water features, ponds, and pools surrounding a home act like evaporative coolers. They absorb the air’s heat, thereby making it cooler before it enters your home.

More Trees = Cooler Temperatures

Like water features, plants and trees around a home can help keep your home cool using the effects of evaporative cooling.

Large trees to the west help reduce heat from the afternoon sun. In addition, plants can be used to shade walls and garden beds, and reduce the amount of paving needed.

Save on Energy Costs with Switchme!

Another great way to save on energy costs is to ensure your electricity provider is giving you the best rate possible. Switchme, New Zealand’s biggest nongovernment funded energy switching site, can help you compare other energy providers’ rates to your own. Use Switchme’s free, online calculator to find the best energy rate possible! Contact Switchme today for more details.

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What Do I Need to Know About Solar Panels?

Interested in generating your own electricity? Solar panels (also known as photovoltaic panels) installed on Kiwis’ homes are quickly proving a popular way to accomplish this goal!

How to Install Solar Panels on Your Home

Like most decisions in life, it pays to do your homework first before making a big decision! The same logic applies to installing solar panels on your home.

Prior to doing so, consider the pros and cons of adding solar panels to your residence. Although you may already know the benefits of having solar panels (with the big one being a decrease/elimination of energy costs), have you considered the disadvantages?

Researching the costs associated with having the solar panels, such as maintenance costs and parts replacement as well as the length of the warranty can help you make an informed decision.

More Information Available Online

As part of your research, check out the solar calculator on the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s website. By giving your address and electricity usage from a previous bill, you’ll be able to see how much value you could get from installing solar. And all within only 15 minutes online!

Further information is available via Consumer NZ’s website and Sustainable Electricity Association New Zealand’s website.

Your Connection to the Grid When You Have Solar Panels

Even when you generate solar energy, you still remain connected to the grid. A relationship continues with your retailer and lines company as well.

Your retailer can let you know if your electricity meter can measure both the electricity created from the solar panels, as well as the electricity exported to the local network. It’s worth researching buy-back rates of various retailers in your area to learn more about what you can do with your excess electricity.

What to Do with Solar Panel Issues

If you have a complaint with the solar panels on your home, you must first seek a solution via your panel provider. If you’re still not satisfied, either the Commerce Commission or Citizens’ Advice Bureau can assist you.

Other Ways to Save on Energy

Not interesting in installing solar panels, but still want to save on your energy bill? Switchme, New Zealand’s largest non-government funded energy switching site helps Kiwis find better energy deals.

Since 2009, we have offered free, independent advice as well as assisted customers through the confusing process of changing energy providers. Using our free, online comparison calculator, easily see how your current energy provider compares to competitors! Contact us today for more details!

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Innovative Southland Farmers Create a Machine that Converts Methane into Electricity

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Hard work and dedication over the past 13 years finally paid off for a father-son farming team with the creation of a machine that uses methane to produce power.

Southland farmers John and Quinton Scandrett have worked tirelessly to create a solution for powering their cow shed and for heating water for the farm.

Keeps Harmful Methane Gas out of the Atmosphere

In the end, a machine was created that extracts greenhouse gases from effluent, and changes them into carbon dioxide at his Isla Bank property, Glenarlea Farm.

An Environmental Game Changer for Farmers

Using the farm’s effluent pond which contains wash-out from the milking shed, a black liner traps methane gas, which is then fed through a generator to create electricity. In addition, hot water (at 91degC) is produced which is used for cleaning the farm.

The more animal manure produced, the more energy can be created. A herd of 400 cows is estimated to produce enough energy to produce hot water only, but 800-850 cows would be able to create a full electricity generating set-up. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be reduced by about 30% using the system.

Challenges with Effluent Ponds

One of the main challenges with creating electricity using this process is to keep effluent ponds well insulated. Cooler temperatures slow the natural bacteria, which produces the methane. The pond at Glenarlea Farm had been built with this in mind, but existing effluent ponds could be retrofitted with the technology.

However, since Southland typically has cooler climate, successful use of this technology there means that it can work basically anywhere throughout New Zealand.

New Technology Means Cost Savings for Farmers

Other Southland farmers can anticipate the technology to be available for their farms next year. Although installation costs will vary depending on the effluent pond system currently in place, the electricity savings from the recovery will eventually pay off.

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Venture Southland are currently monitoring the project to see what the actual economic payback would be.

Lower Your Energy Costs with Switchme!

As New Zealand’s largest non-government funded energy switching site, Switchme has helped thousands of New Zealand business and residential customers find a better energy deal. Using our free, online comparison calculator, see for yourself if another electricity provider has a cheaper rate. Contact Swtichme today for more details

Keep Your Electric Vehicle Powered with New Charging Stations in South Auckland

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If you’re an electric vehicle owner in South Auckland, it’s easy to keep your vehicle powered with help from the area’s ten charging stations.

Vector, an electricity supplier, has rapid chargers at Auckland Airport Shopping Centre, the Z Energy Skyway fuel station on George Bolt Memorial Drive, and on Walters Road, Takanini. They’ve also supplied Manukau, Wiri, M?ngere, and East Tamaki with standard chargers.

The chargers near Auckland Airport are proving very popular, with an average use of 15.5 times each day.

Install Vector’s EV Charging App for Helpful Information

Vector's EV Charging App is a useful tool for owners of electric cars. Not only does it provide information about charging stations that are currently available for use, but users can also see charger information.

The app also features a handy scheduler that lets electric car owners book their vehicle in to use the charger.

Forward Thinking Technology Available from Vector

Vector has technology that’s available so customers can ensure their electric vehicle is charged at a time when demand is low. Customers can plug in their electric vehicle, and program it to be ready to go for whenever it’s needed. The technology knows when the demand is low on the network, so can charge your EV at a suitable time.

Another technology that Vector currently has available enables electric vehicle owners to charge up their car, as well as take power back out of it for their home or business. This technology has huge potential – an electric Nissan Leaf can provide ten hours’ worth of power for an average household!

Government Focussed on Increasing EV’s in New Zealand

In May of 2016, the New Zealand government launched its “Electric Vehicles Programme.” The program’s main goal is to see approximately 64,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2021.

To help reach this goal, measures like reducing some of the barriers and investigating ways to further support the uptake of electric vehicles were implemented.

New Zealand’s Well Suited to Electric Vehicles

New Zealand workers have a low average commute, which can be easily handled by an electric vehicle’s battery. Overnight home charging is convenient because 85% of New Zealand homes have off-street parking. Because 80% of New Zealand has highly renewable energy resources, there is enough supply for every vehicle in the country to be charged with electricity.

New Zealand is in a great position to benefit from electric vehicles. Compared to other countries, New Zealand’s high amount of renewable resources means that the country produces 80 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Let Switchme Save YOU $$$!

If you’re looking for additional ways to reduce your electricity costs other than getting an EV, Switchme can help! Using our free power comparison calculator, see for yourself if another electricity provider has a cheaper rate.

Contact us today for more details!