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Thread: Help!! Need to pick a power company!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Tauranga, NZ
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    334

    Default Help!! Need to pick a power company!!

    I am so clueless in this situation!! We are moving into our rental (in Papamoa) next week and I need to arrange the power and I don't know what to do. I know it sounds stupid and I'm sorry if I seem ignorant, but I don't know the system over here. Back where I'm from in the US, there was one power company and all you had to do was call and get the account setup and you would pay for whatever you used. There weren't different plans and options to choose from. So I'm really overwhelmed and could use some guidance and education on how to proceed. I'm doing a lot of research on the Internet to try and figure it out, but any advice or explanations you kind folks could offer would be much appreciated!! Thanks!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Tauranga, Bay of Plenty
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    We are with Trustpower..........they seem pretty good and reasonable too. They offer you a percentage off if you pay monthly on DD, once you have been with them for a while. They do expect a bond of $150 for new customers which you get back after 12 months. You also go into a draw every month for free power, anything from $100 worth and every year you get a lump sum back, this was about $320 which we got in September and we had only been with them from the previous April.

    All you need to do is check out this link: http://www.trustpower.co.nz/
    and give them a call. Everything is handled over the phone.
    Last edited by catt; 4th March 2010 at 06:41 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Nelson, NZ - from Boulder USA
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    Check out Powerswitch first - http://www.consumer.org.nz/powerswitch It is from Consumer Magazine
    and will show you all of the plans available for your location and help you forecast the costs. Definitely
    worth the 10 minutes needed.

  4. #4
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    May 2009
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    Blenheim
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    Definitely check out powerswitch- we did that after the big news about Contact rising prices and all that and it turned out that despite all that it was still the cheapest company for us!

  5. #5
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    Dec 2008
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    Tauranga, NZ
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    Thanks for the help. I just looked at Powerswitch, but since we don't have an existing power company, they estimated our usage. I don't know how much confidence to put in that because everyone is different in their power usage and I have a feeling we may be a little higher than some as my husband is in IT and will have a small server running 24/7 in our house and various other electronics. Plus I don't know the details on the water heater, but I believe it is electric. Also, will I need to know how the meter and everything is setup in the house to get something setup?

    The thing I am really struggling with is understanding the plans as that is completely foreign to me. I'm trying to understand controlled vs uncontrolled and all that. Some of them say the water is on for 17 hours a day, so when does it go off? Some of them say water heating may be turned off during peak times, but again, when is that? I like hot showers! Just trying to get my head around it all, any insight into how the plans work would be much appreciated!

    ETA: I did find some explanations on the Powerswitch...sorry for posting before reading all of it. But I would still like any other input you guys may have. Thanks!!
    Last edited by PonyGirl; 4th March 2010 at 12:04 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Nelson, NZ - from Boulder USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by PonyGirl View Post
    Thanks for the help. I just looked at Powerswitch, but since we don't have an existing power company, they estimated our usage. I don't know how much confidence to put in that because everyone is different in their power usage and I have a feeling we may be a little higher than some as my husband is in IT and will have a small server running 24/7 in our house and various other electronics. Plus I don't know the details on the water heater, but I believe it is electric. Also, will I need to know how the meter and everything is setup in the house to get something setup?
    The main items that will affect your electric bills are your heating (heat pump, portable heaters etc), water cylinder, electric cooktop, oven, dishwasher, clothes washer, dryer, television (some of which may not be applicable to you). The lights, radios, computers and other small appliances aren't big factors alone but do add up. Unless your husband is running lots of disks or high power graphics cards, the server will be a minor factor (I run one in my house as well) - do be aware of laser printers and other peripherals since they can be thirsty.

    One site that could be of help is: http://www.energysavers.gov/your_hom.../mytopic=10040 Even though it is a US site, the total consumption by type of device should be applicable. You can find the costs for the different plans on the Powerswitch site if you go into the details of a plan. The hard part will be that they often roll some of the fixed costs into the rates (daily connect charges etc) so the raw kilowatt cost can be tricky to work out.

    You *might* be able to get some old bills from the property owner, property manager or the Electric company. If not, I would start with the Powerswitch recommendations and work from there.
    The thing I am really struggling with is understanding the plans as that is completely foreign to me. I'm trying to understand controlled vs uncontrolled and all that. Some of them say the water is on for 17 hours a day, so when does it go off? Some of them say water heating may be turned off during peak times, but again, when is that? I like hot showers! Just trying to get my head around it all, any insight into how the plans work would be much appreciated!
    The idea of controlled vs uncontrolled really only affects the hot water cylinder - most 'modern' ones can hold more water than a house will use at one time and during the day, when most houses are vacant, the cylinder would be keeping that water hot 'just in case' it is needed. Since the day time is also when commercial/industrial demand is highest, most electric companies offer a discount in exchange for being able to switch off your cylinder during the day (normally 9-4, I think). You still have hot water for much of the day and the cylinder will start heating up in the afternoon so that you are ready for the night. One caveat is that your house will need to have a separate meter for the hot water cylinder in order for you to take a controlled plan - if it isn't there it will cost money to have one installed and the landlord would probably have to approve it.

    We are on a controlled plan and I have never noticed any loss of hot water. Also, in our house, the dishwasher and front loading clothes washer both heat the water they use so they don't compete with the showers.

    Ask away if you have other questions.

  7. #7
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    Dec 2008
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    Tauranga, NZ
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    Thank you very much!!! That is very helpful!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Hi,

    If you want a rough idea of power usage, our latest power bill was for 621kWh. My PC is on 24/7 as is my wife's laptop, we have an electrical hot water cylinder (geyser), we use the dryer for clothes and don't hang anything on the line. My wife is home in the day, and we run two bath's a day. We also run an aircon in the lounge when it's hot.

    We had the same dilemma, without knowing your usage it's very difficult to choose the best plan and provider for your money. We went with Mercury energy, they calculate your usage at the end of the year and automatically adjust you to what the best priced plan for your usage should have been and credit you back the difference.

    Hope that helps

    Cheers.

  9. #9
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    Feb 2008
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    Hello and welcome.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Power companies entice you in with offers of cheaper power and a discount if you pay on time, a couple of months down the track they put the power up until you find you weren't any better changing over.
    I did a costing not so long ago and found that even though I get 20% discount for paying early, other unit prices are higher than power companies that don't offer a discount. I am on a low user charge.
    As it turns out they are all much of a muchness.

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