Bills suck. We all know that. It’s tough forking out for the essentials in life but they’re not called essentials for nothing.
Most bills are pretty dull but there’s always one that I tend to find quite interesting, and that’s the power bill. Power consumption is something that I often think about at home as I tend to use a few power hungry devices, from my computer to my TV set up – i.e. a decent sized TV that needs the PS3 and sound system on even just to view TV channels.
With that in mind, I’ve been comparing a few different electricity suppliers recently. That’s the good thing with power companies – they’re actually all really helpful when it comes to finding you new ways to save power. It’s not like they’re trying to keep you in the dark … no pun intended.
How to Compare
The best place to start is to get a couple of your recent power bills in front of you and then head to some websites of the more reputable power companies around New Zealand (be aware that some electricity providers only service certain areas so be sure to find your local).
I’ve been on a few and pretty much all of them have a few key resources for helping you to spend less money on your power bill.
These resources often include:
- Tips and guides on saving power at home
- Information on different plans that are available and sometimes a calculator to help you choose the best plan
- Points schemes that reward you with bonuses when you do certain things to manage your power
Rewards schemes are great. A lot of power suppliers have them. Rewards schemes can be everything from Fly Buys partnerships to supplier’s own reward schemes – Brownie Points for Genesis Energy, Mercury Perks for Mercury Energy, etc. Mercury have a wee video showing their own scheme which actually gives you a card that you can use for discounts elsewhere.
Reward schemes are great but it’s perhaps best not to get too drawn in by them. Instead, your primary point of focus should be on the plans themselves.
Some plans offer greater convenience that can include:
- Paying in advance (pay as you go)
- Managing your bills online
- Access to online information about your power consumption trends
- Fixed power prices for a set period of time
While other plans focus specifically on your own style of power consumption. This tends to include reduced rates at night which means that you can pay less for your water heating (after everyone’s had their showers in the evenings) or you can make the most of appliances such as night-store heaters.
At this point you really need to find a plan that fits your needs the most … and for most people, that means working out how you can spend the least amount of money on your power bill but still maintain a quality level of power supply for your home.
If in doubt, just contact a representative from the power company directly and they’ll ask you about your home situation and then find a plan that’s best for you.
Power Supply Comparisons
If you want to check out a number of different power suppliers at once, you can head to each different company’s website and find the best plan for you, or you can use one of the power comparison websites that have been cropping up lately.
One resource for this is called ‘Consumer Powerswitch‘. Another is ‘Switchme‘. Both are great at finding you ways to save money on your power bill. Another is Powershop. In practice, Powershop is quite different to Consumer Powerswitch and Switchme in that you actually buy your power through Powershop. Periodically, through Powershop you can choose a power company that’s offering the best rates for that month and easily switch to them. When another power company has a better deal, you can swap.
If none of the above helps you, personally I find that the best way to save power in our house is to following my wife around the house, switching off the lights as she goes ;)