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 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!

Mercury is Now Available on Switchme!

If you’ve been waiting for even more reasons to check out Switchme, New Zealand’s non-government funded energy switching site, here’s one more: Mercury has now been launched on the site.

The company provides nationwide energy supply, and offers both electricity and dual-fuel options. With 13 power stations in its operation (all within Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty), the company has a total of 1,638MW of generating capacity.

Not only is Mercury one of New Zealand’s biggest electricity retailers, but it is a company that is committed to supporting the community that supports them. Through many sponsorships and partnerships – such as with Rowing New Zealand and Starship – Mercury plays a vital role in supporting the wellbeing of New Zealanders.

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The Benefits of Joining Mercury

With almost 400,000 users, there are clearly reasons why customers are choosing Mercury as their power provider. The reasons are plentiful! Mercury is dedicated to rewarding customers that choose them for their electricity, gas or solar for their home, business or farm.

They offer the following rewards for choosing them as your energy provider:

  • Earn AirpointsTM: By being rewarded with Airpoints Dollars when you pay your Mercury bill, you’ll now be that much closer to taking that dream trip!
  • Wonderful E.Bikes: Join the thousands of other Kiwis who see the benefits of using e.bikes! Save up to $500 on an as a Mercury customer.
  • Great Self-Service Tools: Update your personal details, review and pay your bills, check your energy usage and more 24 hours a day using the “My Account” feature.
  • Service with a Smile: An award-winning contact centre is happy to help you with any question or concern you may have.
  • Be Part of the Magic: As a 5-star sponsor of the Starship Foundations since 2001, Mercury and its customers have donated more than ten million dollars to the foundation’s cause!

Start Saving on Your Energy Bill Right Away with Switchme!

Interested in seeing what kind of energy deal Mercury can offer you? Check out Switchme’s free, online comparison calculator to see what type of energy rate Mercury Energy can offer you! In only three easy steps, you can quickly and easily find out how your current energy rate stacks up against other power providers.

Check out Switchme today to start saving on energy costs!

Benefits of Switching Power Companies

New Zealand has one of the fasting switching times around the globe. This year alone, hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households have switched their power company. Have you been thinking about changing power companies yourself? If so, there’s no time like the present to start reaping the rewards of another energy company!

Reduce Your Energy Costs

By easily using Switchme’s free, online calculator, see how your household’s energy costs compare to similar households. Within seconds of entering certain data, find out if you’re overpaying on your electricity and gas bills. With an average of only four and half days to change over to the new company you choose, you’ll experience price savings almost right away!

More Ways to Pay

Be sure to check out what companies are offering regarding electricity plans and payment options. Even though a company may offer the cheapest rate, their billing arrangement may not work the best with your own household’s needs.

Many companies also offer new consumers freebies and account credits. If you’re currently on a fixed term contract involving a break fee, talk to the new, prospective company. To get your business, many may work with you to offer a deal you simply can’t refuse!

Start Saving More Money!

When managing a household, one of the best ways to save money is to look at reducing your current overhead costs. By switching power companies to a more affordable energy provider, you can start seeing the savings add up fast!

In 2015 alone, the Electricity Authority (EA) estimated that an average of $175 was saved when Kiwis switched to the cheapest power retailer available. Switch to a cheaper power company and put away extra money for Christmas gifts, buy new shoes for your kids or start saving for a family vacation. What you choose to spend that extra savings on is entirely up to you!

Plenty of Choices on the Market

Because more people are switching power companies these days, new companies are getting involved in the power industry. This, in turn, makes the price for electricity and gas more competitive for Kiwis.

Although the big five retailers are still the most dominant, there has been a surge of small, independent companies. In 2016, these small companies had a customer base of almost 80,000, which was 12% more than the previous year. With the popularity of these new retailers increasing, the major retailers cannot afford to be as complacent now as they were in the past.

Let Switchme Help You Find a Better Deal on Energy!

Whenever you’re ready to consider the options of switching to a new energy provider, Switchme is here to help you! Between our free, online comparison calculator and our phone line support, we provide an easy, stress-free way of finding the best energy deal on the market. Contact us today for more details!

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Genesis Energy Dumped by New Zealand Super Fund

The New Zealand Super Fund has recently dumped Genesis Energy, owners of the Huntly Power Station (New Zealand’s largest thermal power station) in order to cut the fund’s carbon intensity and exposure to carbon reserves. As of August 15, 2017, the $35 billion fund, which was established to help cover future state pension costs, is now declared “low-carbon.”

Dumped More than $950 Million in Investments

As part of the New Zealand Super Fund’s move to reduce its carbon footprint, more than $950 million in investments has ended, including its holding in a state-owned electricity company. Although NZ Super has investments in numerous other carbon intensive industry companies, this latest move has been welcomed by environmental and investment groups. It has brought NZ Super a long way towards hitting its target of cutting its exposure to carbon reserves by 40 percent and carbon intensity by 20 percent.

Fund Now Declared “Low-Carbon”

Last year, the fund’s investment strategy pledged to reduce its investment in fossil fuels and instead, target clean energy to prepare for climate change. The overall fund’s carbon intensity is now just under 20 percent and the exposure to carbon reserves was reduced by 21.5 percent. In total, this latest decision saw the fund exit 279 companies.

Still Invested in Other Carbon Intensive Companies

Of the remaining investments, the fund has investments in at least 29 airlines, 139 companies in the “oil, gas and consumables” sector and almost 200 companies in the “metals and mining” sectors. In addition, it still holds high-carbon stocks periodically due to the discretionary decisions of active managers.

Companies Can Return to Portfolio in Future

According to Matt Whineray, Chief Investment Officer, cutting exposure to companies at risk from climate change was not the same as other categorical exclusions, such as tobacco manufacturers. If companies improve their management of climate risk, they will have the opportunity to become a part of the portfolio again in the future.

Financial Markets Under-Priced Climate Change into the Future

Because the global energy system is transitioning away from fossil fuels, reducing exposure to carbon emissions and reserves is a low-cost insurance policy. In addition, the recent weather shows how crucial is to that New Zealand has a variety of energy sources.

Genesis Energy Not Concerned; Understands its Importance

As the long, dry winter of 2017 has already shown New Zealand, Genesis Energy can help provide NZ businesses and households with energy when needed. In 2017, almost half of the company’s energy generation has been from renewable sources, up from 16 percent during 2016. The company is not concerned by NZ Super’s move, as other investors continue to see and support the advantages of this company’s thermal capacity.

Let Switchme Save YOU Money!

Looking for ways to save on your energy bills this winter? If so, Switchme can help! Contact us today for more details?and to use?our free power comparison calculator.?

Electricity or Gas Problem? Here’s What to Do

When you have an electrical or gas problem at your home, it’s important that you do the right thing – and do it quickly. Being prepared by knowing what to do if an electrical or gas emergency occurs is important. Take the time to review the following information with family and could save a life.

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What to Do in an Electrical Emergency

If your whole area loses power, be assured that the local lines company will be working on the problem right away. If you are located in a remote or rural area, contact your local faults number to log the fault. Ensure appliances and electrical equipment are turned off. Not only do they present a fire hazard, but they could become damaged if they’re left on and the power comes back on.

If your residence is the only one without power, check the fuse box to see if it’s still working. If it seems to be working, you could have a fault in the supply to your home.

If an electrical accident occurs, do not touch the injured person if they are still touching a live electrical source. Be sure to switch the source of electricity off; if unable to, move the source away from you and the injured person using a non-conducting object like a wooden boom handle. Then, dial 111 for an ambulance as soon as possible.

What to Do in a Gas Emergency

If you smell gas around an appliance, turn it off right away. After doing so, call a Registered Craftsman. If you don’t know one, look in the Yellow Pages under "gas fitters."

If the gas smell remains after turning off the appliance, turn off the gas supply at the cylinder or gas meter and open windows and doors for ventilation purposes. In addition, call Consumer NZ at 0800 80 9000 to report the fault. In the meanwhile, do not switch on or off any lights or electrical appliances as this could ignite the gas and cause an explosion. Avoid using a telephone (including a mobile phone), matches, lighters or cigarettes near any suspected gas leak. Also, don’t try to track the gas leak yourself – leave it to the professionals!

Let?Switchme?Save YOU Money!

Looking for ways to save on your energy bills? If so, Switchme can help! Contact us today for more details?and to use?our free comparison calculator.?

How Do I Switch Power Companies?

Not happy with your current energy provider? Or, looking for a better deal on power? If so, it’s comforting to hear that New Zealand has one of the fastest switching times in the world! Partnering with Switchme ensures you can switch power companies as quickly, easily and pain-free as possible.

Switching Power Companies is Easy with Switchme!

Using Switchme’s free power comparison calculator to help you find the best energy deal will get you on your way to energy savings in no time. In just three steps, you can become the newest customer of another retailer!

Step #1: Enter Your Address and Usage Details

First, simply enter your usage and address details from your bill. Easily choose as many metres as needed and also the period length. If you’re moving to a new property or simply do not have an old bill handy, simply select “Estimate My Usage.” After indicating the number of people in your household, Switchme can figure the rest of the calculation out!

Step #2: Review Your Results

Right away, review the offers from various Retailers who can supply energy to your property. Take some time to review the various prices and details before choosing the best Retailer for your needs. Once you make your decision, click “SWITCH.”

Step #3: Complete Your Application

Complete your application by filling in your name, contact and property details before hitting “SUBMIT.” Your application will then be delivered to your new Retailer so that it can be switched immediately. To ensure the process runs smoothly, Switchme will monitor your request and be available for any follow-up questions.

Switchme: A Process You Can Trust

By helping over 60,000 kiwis to date, Switchme has a reputation that you can trust when it comes to switching power companies! We have years of experience dealing with New Zealand’s energy industry and offer rates and incentives you won’t find anywhere else. While providing free, independent advice, we pride ourselves on finding the best energy deals for kiwis!

Switchme Can Find You a Better Deal on Energy!

Whether you’re looking for a better price on energy for your home or business, Switchme is here to help! Between our free, online comparison calculator and our phone line support, we provide the easiest way to compare and switch companies. Let us help you find the best energy deal! Contact the experts at Switchme today.

Making an Electricity or Gas Complaint

Not happy with the electricity or gas services being provided to your home or business and wondering what to do next? Follow the tips below to learn how to make a complaint about your energy provider.

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Navigating the Complaint Process

The first step in the complaint process is to contact the company directly that is providing you with the services. Check your bill for a free phone number or e-mail address to direct your complaint to. Writing “complaint” in the email subject line or stating it right away when calling ensures you are directed to the right resource. Contacting the company first will hopefully result in a quick solution and prevent the need of going any further with the complaint.

Contacting Utilities Dispute

In general, the provider has 20 working days to resolve the complaint with you. If your complaint is still not resolved, Utilities Dispute can look into it for you. They will first need to ensure that your complaint is about something they can look into and is at proper stage for their involvement. If Utilities Dispute is unable to look into your complaint, they will refer you to the agency that can.

Utilities Dispute Works with You and Your Provider

By working closely with you and your provider, Utilities Dispute will hopefully find an outcome that suits both parties. Usually, an in-person or telephone meeting is arranged between you and the provider (facilitated by a Utilities Dispute conciliator), or information is passed between the two parties by Utilities Dispute. If technical or legal information is needed, Utilities Dispute can get expert advice.

Getting a Recommendation from the Commissioner

If the complaint is not resolved, the Commissioner can be referred to for a proposed recommendation. This recommendation is then given to you and your provider along with the opportunity to comment. If both parties accept the proposed recommendation, it becomes binding; if you or your provider does not accept the proposed recommendation, comments can be submitted.

Seeking a Solution

If you do not accept the Commissioner’s final recommendation, Utilities Dispute will close the file. In this case, you may have the option to take the complaint to another forum such as Disputes Tribunal or district court. If you accept, but the provider does not, a determination will be made by the Commissioner. If this is the case, the provider must comply with the Commissioner’s recommendation.

Switchme Can Help You Switch Energy Companies!

Even after completing a complaint, are you still unhappy with your energy provider? If so, Switchme can help! Use our free, online power comparison calculator or phone line support to easily compare and switch energy providers. Let us help you find the best energy deal! Contact us today for more information.

Using Electric Blankets Safely

When properly used and maintained, an electric blanket is a comforting way to get through New Zealand’s chilly winter months. However, if safety precautions are not followed when using one of these warm blankets, you could be at risk of injury or a fire.

Safety First!

An electric blanket should only be used to warm the bed. To avoid overheating (which can be life threatening, especially for the very young, ill or elderly), it should be turned off before you get into bed. In addition, keep the blanket turned off when you’re not in the room. Most electric blankets do not have automatic shut-offs when reaching a potentially dangerous high temperature, so could cause a burn or a fire hazard.

Checking Your Electric Blanket for Damage

Before using your blanket, be sure to check for damage to the heating elements. To do so, lay the blanket flat and turn it on for 15 minutes at the highest setting. Watch it closely, then turn it off. Feel for hot spots by running your hand over the blanket. Hot spots mean that the heating element’s kinked or damaged, which could lead to electric shock or fire. Look for any kinks, fraying cords, worn or exposed wires and scorch marks as well. If any type of danger is found, safely dispose of the electric blanket.

A Proper Fit Means a Safe Fit!

A properly fit electric blanket lays flat on the bed without creasing, thereby avoiding damage to the heating elements. Be sure to avoid using pins or other sharp objects to attach the blanket. Keep the cord and control switch clear of the bed so that they don’t get damaged.

Get a Replacement Regularly

Old electric blankets are more likely to be dangerous; in fact, blankets that are ten years or older account for 99% of all electric blanket fires. Replace old blankets every few years, even if they still appear to be working. Don’t ever use a blanket that is damaged. To ensure you stay safe while using an electric blanket, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommended safety precautions.

Some Extra Safety Tips to Keep In Mind

  • Check that your electric blanket can be washed before doing so; never use a wet electric blanket
  • Don’t fold up or ball up the blanket when it’s operating because this concentrates the heat unevenly, thereby increasing the risk of burns
  • Avoid laying on top of the blanket as this can cause electrical wire damage
  • Never dry clean a heating blanket because the chemicals used in the process can damage heating insulation and increase fire risk
  • Consider using non-electric alternatives to keep you warm like using flannel sheets, wearing socks or adding extra blankets

Save on Energy Costs this Winter!

Looking for ways to save on energy costs this winter? If so, Switchme’s free, online power comparison calculator can easily show you what your options are regarding New Zealand energy providers. Contact us today for more details!