Due to high power consumption in the domestic sector in 2020, variable tariffs were temporarily reduced from December 2020 to March 2021 by up to 38%. Some domestic customers may therefore experience an increase in charges from April 2021, depending on their retailer plan.
Eastland Network’s new pricing for the year came into effect on 1 April 2021. Overall, the changes to distribution charges are small, with minor changes to transmission charges. What’s different is that this year, for the first time, Eastland Network are offering Time of Use tariffs for all residential customers with a communicating smart meter. This can save them money if they shift more of their power usage to off peak times.
How a power bill is structured
Prices are strictly regulated, and must comply with the Commerce Commission’s Default Price-Quality Path Determination requirements.
On average, Eastland Network’s line charges make up around 30-40 percent of the total cost on an electricity bill, although this does vary depending on different retailer offers. Lines charges are a combination of transmission charges, which are passed on from Transpower, and distribution charges.
Eastland Network bills these line charges directly to energy retailers, and they incorporate them into each customer’s power bill. The remaining costs are determined by the retailers.
Small changes to distribution prices
From 1 April 2021, the majority of residential customers across Tairāwhiti and Wairoa will notice little change to the Network’s distribution prices on their power bill.
Fifteen thousand customers on the low fixed charge domestic tariff, who use less than 8,000kWh a year, will have a 2.8% decrease on average.
Five thousand customers on the standard domestic tariff (high power users of over 8,000kWh a year) will see an average 4.5% increase.
Transmission costs same or lower
Transpower’s transmission prices remain almost the same, with a small 2% decrease for 20,000 residential customers and small businesses, and no change for everyone else.
New Time of Use tariff option
After four years of planning, Eastland Network are rolling out a new Time of Use tariff structure.
Time of Use pricing gives residential consumers the ability to reduce their electricity bill by shifting some of their power use from peak to off-peak times.
Off-peak times are Monday to Friday 9pm to 7am, 11am to 5pm, and weekends.
For example, turn on your washing machine and dishwasher during those times, and you’ll be paying a lower price for your power.
To take advantage of the Time of Use tariff, you need to have a communicating smart meter, and choose a suitable plan from your retailer.
For those residential customers who don’t have a communicating smart meter, Eastland Network are ensuring they’re not disadvantaged. The Network have set a default tariff that reflects a standard energy consumption profile.
Planning for the future
“We have long focused on ensuring simple pricing structures and stable distribution prices, providing a secure power supply for the region at a reasonable cost,” says Eastland Network general manager Jarred Moroney.
“Our pricing is regulated, and we review it annually. The Electricity Authority requires that all electricity networks across the country ensure that distribution charges are as cost-reflective as possible.
“Like many other networks, we are now introducing a Time of Use tariff. ToU better reflects the costs of electricity transmission and distribution, as high electricity places demand on the network during peak times.”
Mr Moroney said while the region’s electricity usage continues to remain steady, Eastland Network must plan for the future.
“As customers change how and when they use electricity, interest in renewable energy like solar PV grows, and the uptake of electric vehicles increases, we have to be ready to meet this demand.
“The new Time of Use tariff is one example of the future-focused strategy we’re currently working on. It gives customers choice in how and when they use their power, and provides a lower tariff when this is off peak.”
Along with developing their new long term pricing strategy, Eastland Network have also completely updated their asset management plan. This identifies the most effective ways to allocate spending on asset maintenance and upgrades, and has further improved the network’s asset inspection regime.
The full schedule of charges can be seen here.
We’re encouraging people to take charge of their power bill and make sure they’re receiving the best deal.
If you’re interested in a Time of Use tariff, you should check with your retailer.
Also, the government’s research has shown that people who switch retailers regularly enjoy the biggest savings on their power bill.
If everyone in Tairāwhiti makes sure they’re on the best deal for them, the region will collectively save millions of dollars every year.
There are over 20 electricity retailers that you can choose from in Tairāwhiti. Switching retailers is easy. Once you’ve found the right retailer for you, it only takes a few minutes to switch, and it could save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Powerswitch.org.nz is a free and independent website run by Consumer NZ. It can do all the hard work for you.
Visit powerswitch.org.nz. Make sure you have a recent electricity bill handy. Once you’ve typed in some basic information about your home and electricity bill, they will display a list of electricity retailers and an estimated saving.
When using powerswitch.org.nz, don’t just choose the cheapest retailer. Call the top two or three options to see if they will offer a better deal over the phone – you might be surprised at how much more you could save.
Compare your options regularly (every 12 – 18 months) and consider switching.