Tips for making your power go further

There are many simple things you can do to lower your electricity bill by improving your home or by changing your habits. Visit EECA Energywise or ask your electricity retailer to find out more. The Energywise website helps identify where power savings can be made at home including how to check if your home is properly insulated and how to buy energy-efficient appliances.

Why is my electricity bill higher in winter?

The short answer is because in New Zealand in winter we use more power so that our homes can be warm and well-lit. To explain more about this and other factors, the Electricity Authority has prepared a helpful short note for customers. See here for more.

Consumer NZ's winter heating guide

Find out how to keep heat in and dampness out, which fuels are the cheapest and cleanest, and how to get the most out of your appliances in the 2017 Consumer NZ's winter heating guide. Available for free here

The Ministry of Social Development's ten-tip guide to save money and cut your electricity costs:

  1. Talk to your electricity company about which plan is best for you. Most companies provide options including direct debits at a flat rate all year round, pre-payment meters and low use rates for people who are very frugal.
  2. Most of your electricity bill will go on hot water so use less if you can. Set your washing machine on a cold wash and rinse your dishes in cold water. Take short showers instead of baths. Showers use 60 per cent less water than baths.
  3. Fix dripping taps. A dripping hot tap can cost $80 a year but a washer to fix it costs less than $1!
  4. If your hot water cylinder is old, keep the heat in by using a hot water cylinder wrap. These are available from hardware stores. Make sure the thermostat is set to produce a temperature of 55C at the tap (this will also prevent scalds).
  5. Always turn the lights off in rooms when you leave them. But if you are using energy efficient light bulbs it is better to leave them on if you are returning within ten minutes.
  6. Appliances that have a standby function (such as TVs, stereos, mobile chargers, computers or microwaves) should be turned off at the wall. This can save you up to $75 a year.
  7. Clothes dryers can be very expensive to run so try not to use them unless you really have to. Heated towel rails are also expensive and cost around $120 a year to run.
  8. Make sure there is generous air space behind the back of your fridge and try to locate it out of direct sunlight, or in a cooler room like the laundry. Don't open the fridge door too often or leave it open.
  9. Make sure you cool food before putting it in the fridge. Turn off your second or 'drinks' fridge - this could be costing you $190 per year.
  10. When cooking keep the oven door closed. Always keep lids on pots and use as little water as possible to cook foods. Simmer rather than boil food and if possible use a microwave, as this uses 30-40 per cent less power than a conventional oven. Defrost food naturally if possible, (in the fridge is best) rather than in the microwave.

If you are in rented property, talk to your landlord about insulation and draft-proofing. Consider owning your own energy-efficient heaters, which you can take with you when you move. Changes to the Residential Tenancies Act now mean that:

  • all new tenancy agreements must have a statement on the depth, condition, and extent of the insulation in the ceiling, underfloor and walls
  • all properties must have smoke alarms installed - one on each floor and at least one within three metres of every bedroom
  • by 1 July 2019 insulation must be installed in the ceilings and underfloors of all rentals that have accessible ceilings and underfloors
  • switch to low-energy use LED lightbulbs