Am I a Standard or Low User?
There are two types of plan available to Kiwi households: Standard User or Low User.
Under either, you’ll be billed both a daily rate, and a usage rate per kWh (kilowatt-hour) unit of electricity consumed. It’s entirely up to you whether you sign onto a Standard or a Low User plan, but depending on your circumstances you may be much better off on one rather than the other.
The Standard User plan has a higher daily charge, but a lower charge per kWh used so is ideal if your electricity usage is relatively high. Households north of Christchurch are better off on a Standard plan if using more than 8,000kWh each year, and for Christchurch and further south if using more than 9,000 kWh each year. Conversely, if your annual usage is lower than that number, a Low User plan is more advantageous. A Low User plan is generally suited to people using less electricity than average (hence the name!) It’s designed so that the fixed rate is no more than 30 cents a day* but the unit rate is higher, which means that if you don’t use much electricity you’ll pay less than you would on a Standard User plan.
Standard rate plans will generally suit larger households, where people are home a lot, and electricity is used for hot water and heating.
In general, you should pick a Low User plan if your household has one or two people living in a well-insulated, energy-efficient home, often with gas for heating or hot water. Very roughly, these households will spend much less than $200 monthly averaged across the year – although the exact level will vary in different parts of the country. Low User plans are only available for your primary residence (so not your bach, crib or holiday home).
Note that while for most of the country the tipping point between the two plans is 8,000kWh annually, the average household use is much lower than that. So, you may be a very standard household – but better off on a Low User plan.
You can switch between Low and Standard user plans once a year.
*not including GST and after any prompt payment discount