According to Stuff News, home electricity usage in the first week of Level 4 lockdown in 2020 increased by about 15 per cent.
With many families staying at home rather than going to school or work, the heaters, heat pumps, and fireplaces are getting a real workout.
This will come at significant cost for many families.
James Stevenson-Wallace, Electricity Authority chief executive has recommended that power supply companies do not begin acting on new guidelines that recommend disconnections for non-payment of household electricity bills. Such measures should not start at the very time that it will likely “endanger the wellbeing of the customer or any consumer at the premises”.
The guidelines focus on electricity retailers providing a consistent and supportive standard of service.
‘Electricity is important to the health, wellbeing and social participation of people and whānau in communities. Under this principle, electricity retailers should work proactively to minimise harm caused by difficulty accessing electricity, including by disconnection, keep customers connected, avoiding disconnection for an unpaid electricity invoice, and only use disconnection as a last-resort measure.
“The authority considers pandemic-related lockdowns, including under Covid 19 alert levels 3 and 4 fit this criterion,” Stevenson-Wallace said.
Power companies contacted were all aware of the need to assist people concerned about their increased power use in lockdown.
So what can be done?
- Have a look at Powerswitch. Consumer NZ operates the Powerswitch service where people can check they are with the cheapest electricity provider based on their individual circumstance.
Check for wasted power. Technical adviser James le Page suggests that people should firstly see where they are wasting power.
“Check the kids’ rooms to see if they’ve left any rogue heaters running and the same goes for anything plugged into the wall you aren’t using,” Page said.
Page says not having heaters and hot water cylinders set higher than needed, cleaning filters in heat pumps, and shutting curtains helps to keep the power bills down.
- Dress warmer. “I am home in wool slippers, track pants and a puffer vest. I am warm and have the heat pump not above 20 degrees Celsius. Wearing layers inside keeps the bill down.
“The house doesn’t need to be like a tropical Island, but comfortable.”
Find the right heat pump. Consumer provide an independent, step-by-step guide that will help you choose the right model for your home.
Having a 6kW heat pump on for eight hours a day for a month would cost about $66.48, compared to $16.62 if it was only used for two hours a day.
Ask Cool Air
Cool Air Refrigeration and Air Conditioning are heat pumps, air conditioning and refrigeration specialists. Located in the heart of Timaru, we serve farms, businesses, residencies and factories throughout Timaru and South Canterbury.
Our Quality Guarantee
We guarantee the quality of our installation by offering we offer a 12 month warranty on all Cool Air workmanship, parts and labour. So if your system has a fault, service is on us.
Wherever you are in South Canterbury we’ll help you stay warm in winter and cool in summer. We service the entire South Canterbury region – Ashburton, Geraldine, Timaru, Waimate, Oamaru, Fairlie through to Twizel and the Waitaki District.
Contact Cool Air Today
Office: 03 684 8034