How to pick a power company that is right for you

Picking a power company can be a bit of a hassle. It is one of those things that you can easily forget or put off when you are in your first flat but you will soon realise that power is required to run a lot of things in our homes, including:

  • Lights
  • Hot water
  • General appliances e.g. fridge, dishwashers.
  • Wall plugs
  • Internet

and anything else that requires an electrical connection to work.

So, we’ve established why you need to pick a power company, but how do you know which one is right for you?

There are some key things you want to take into account before picking your power company.

1. Compare the numbers

First, you’ll need to compare the numbers. This is less straightforward than comparing the prices of chip packets in supermarkets to find the best deal. Power prices are complicated and they change from household to household. This is because the amount of power you use is influenced by:

  • The amount of people living in your home
  • The type of heating you have/use
  • The insulation of your home
  • How you heat your water (e.g. electric hot water cylinder or gas?)
  • Your living habits (e.g. in terms of heating and technology)
  • Other appliances you use (e.g. do you have a dryer?)

As well as other influencing factors such as the duration that you use your appliances for.

It is a good idea to create a list that covers all of the points above and be sure to include the appliances and heating devices that your flatmates use too.

If you live alone and do not work close-by (or you’re out of the house most of the day) then you won’t be using a huge amount of electricity. But, if you’re living with a few other people, and there are constantly people at home, that can mean a huge power bill – even if it is shared among the flat.

2. Deals and discounts

Once you know what you are likely going to need power for, you will then want to look out for any discounts and deals that power companies are running. Many will offer discounts if:

  • you use them for both your electricity and gas.
  • you make an early payment.

Some will also offer free credit when signing up with them. This will often make your first month free or extremely cheap.

A helpful way to compare all of these deals and discounts is to create another list which shows each power company’s name next to their offer.

It is also important to include those companies that aren’t running deals as they could still work out to be cheaper. Why? Because just like any deal, you might initially save a lot but you will be paying your power company for longer than the deal extends.

This means you should consider how much you will be paying across the entire period of your tenancy and whether the discount will actually make a difference. One way of managing this is to ask each power company about their general pricing regardless of deals and discounts. This is another total you will want to include on your list.

Find deals on Tenant Deals

A great way to see all of the deals and discounts available to you as a tenant is tenantdeals.co.nz.

This website helps Kiwi tenants to set up everythignt hey need for a first time flat with some of the best deals, including for:

  • Power
  • Gas
  • Internet
  • Movers
  • Sky TV

And more.

All you need to do is:

  • Select the things you are looking for (e.g. electricity, internet, etc)
  • Input some basic details (e.g. name, move date)

And Tenant Deals will provide you with all of the relevant deals to get you and your flat started.

3. Use a power comparison app

Now that you know the details of your power usage (the list you made in step 1) and you also have your own insight into the different deals that power companies are running (the list you made in step 2), you might want to use a power company comparison app.

These apps or websites provide you with an estimate of how much it will cost you to be with different power companies. After taking your power usage details and home address into account, the app will list your different options and exactly how much they think each will cost you.

Now that we know how comparison technology can help in your decision, what are some that you can use?

Powerswitch

Sites like Powerswitch are an easy way to compare different companies. Powerswitch allows you to:

  • compare the gas and electricity prices of different companies.
  • easily switch from an existing provider if you can see that you could save money with someone else.

All you need to do is fill in some basic information about your property and your energy use habits. Then, Powerswitch will do the rest.

Another great thing about Powerswitch is that it is owned and operated by Consumer NZ. This publication is dedicated to providing transparent, expert buying advice, which means Powerswitch does not have the intention of only making a sale and is aiming to help you (the consumer) out.

Other power comparison sites include:

Glimp

Switchme

CompareBear

Using a comparison site to help pick your power company is helpful. They are a great way for tenants to see:

  • What they are actually using their power for
  • How much they can expect to be paying in power
  • Which power company they should choose.

This will help you to avoid landing deals and discounts that could discredit you in the future. It will also give you an idea of what your household can expect to be paying per month with each provider which is really important information if you’re on a budget.

The future of choosing a power provider

Although power companies are still required to organise electricity and gas for your home, other alternatives to doing this are starting to arise. Our Energy is one of them.
A New Zealand initiative to connect consumers with energy generators, Our Energy is aiming to eliminate the current process of going through a power company. This will bring fairness to the market, with the company having other goals such as:

  • creating more local energy systems.
  • encouraging sustainable and more environmentally friendly energy decisions.
  • providing cleaner sources of energy.

If Our Energy is successful, this will make buying power easy and should also reduce the cost of it. At the moment, Our Energy is still testing their digital market place, however their initiative is one to look out for.


In short, try not to get tricked with upfront discounts, rewards, and fancy deals. Make sure that you consider whether these will actually benefit your future power usage or if they’re only immediately advantageous. There’s no point picking the plan with the highest early payment discount rate if you’re paying more for power. 

Talk to your friends and family about their power providers, and use sites like Powerswitch to compare companies before making a decision. Remember, your property, your power usage habits, and your budget all inform what power company is best for you.

Now, time to pick a power company!

If you’re a first-time flatter, Rental News has more tips and tricks that could help you on your home journey. Like the one below!

First time renter’s checklist

All you need to know as a first-time renter.

First time renter in the kitchen putting away items in the cupboard