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Your electricity bills could be shocking


Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, January 23, 2024

Thousands of households will see their power bills surge as Genesis Energy revealed an increase in its prices- again.

This is the second increase in a span of eight months, with some customers saying their daily bill will almost double under these new changes.

Result of Inflation

In light of the cost of living pressures, customers were hoping to avoid a price hike but they received a notification mail last week stating that from February 23, 2024, the cost of their electricity is likely to get even higher.

The mail received by the customers read, “Over the last year we have been impacted by inflation and cost increases in several areas, including the cost of providing electricity and getting it to our customers. We have absorbed many of these increases, but as our business costs have also risen, we now have to pass some of them on.”

Genesis Chief Retail Officer Stephen England-Hall said that the price rise is the result of inflation, which has caused increases across the company, including the cost of generating electricity and transporting it to customers.

“We appreciate any increase can be a challenge for customers. the decision to pass on some of our costs has not been taken lightly. We encourage any customers needing support in paying their bills to contact us. We have an empathetic team with options available to help,” he said.

Who it will impact

Around 11% of Genesis residential electricity customers will be hit with the hike, which is sitting at an average increase of 1.6% and will affect 37,707 customers.

Mr England-Hall said the phase-out of the low user fix charge has added to the need for an increase.

The low user profile provided discounted daily fixed rate charges to ensure low-income families were not disadvantaged, however, a review by the Electricity Price Review Panel found the plan adversely affected many of the users it was attempting to help.

The findings found the scheme often caused confusion and encouraged households to underheat their homes. Because of this, the discounted rate is being gradually removed over the next five years with the maximum fixed daily charge for those on the scheme increasing by $0.30c.

How to make your power work for you

A spokesperson from Consumer NZ said, “We can see so many New Zealand consumers are paying far more than they need to, simply because they are not regularly checking if they are on the right plan.”

“Retailers change their prices throughout the year, and competitors are constantly coming up with new offers. A plan that was once considered cheap may not be so six months later.

Currently, users of our free Powerswitch service are on average finding power plans that can save them $318 per year.”

Consumer NZ offer a few simple solutions to make sure your electricity bills are under control and not burning a hole in your pocket.

  1. Run power-hungry appliances at night: Washing machines, clothes dryers, dishwashers and hot water cylinders consume the most household power. Typically washing machines, dryers and dishwashers each use $1 of electricity per load. By running these appliances during off-peak hours or during your free hour of power, you can cut your power bill significantly.
  2. Learn how to use your timer: If your cheap or free power is due to start in an hour, turn on the washing machine and use the delay function so it comes on when the low-cost power starts. A part of making your power plan work for you is learning to set and forget.
    In winter, if you set your heaters to turn on and start warming the house before peak morning pricing (around 7 am), you will wake to a cosy home and a lower bill.
  3. Charge batteries overnight : Plug-in electric bikes, scooters or electric vehicles overnight when charging can be half-price (depending on your provider).
  4. Make the most of your afternoons: Many power providers offer off-peak times between 11 am and 5 pm. If you are at home during this time, pop the washing on or watch as much daytime telly as you like, guilt-free.
  5. Utilise weekends : Saturdays and Sundays cost less, so use these days to whip out the power tools and to get on top of that dirty clothes pile. If you want to be savvy, consider batch-cooking meals to prep for the week ahead.
  6. Be realistic – choose the right plan for your circumstances It is easy to get caught up thinking of all the potential savings and what you are going to do with that extra moolah, but much like starting a gym membership with good intentions, motivation can lag over time as life gets in the way.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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