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6 reasons why your power bill might be higher this winter

When the temperature starts to drop, power bills begin to rise. It happens every year like clockwork but it can still be a bit of a shock when the winter power bills roll in.

But what exactly is responsible for the seasonal spike in energy costs? To answer this question, we’ve rounded up the top six most common reasons why your power bill might be higher this winter.

1. You’re using your heaters more than normal

Electric heaters are common culprits of high winter power bills. Increasing your heater usage to keep cosy during the chilly months can have a significant impact on your power bill, particularly in the colder parts of New Zealand.

The best way to mitigate this cost is to be mindful of your heating habits. Heat pumps remain the cheapest and most energy-efficient form of heating in New Zealand and are capable of producing 3.5 to 4.5 kilowatts of heat output for every kilowatt of energy they use. In contrast, electric heaters produce 1 kilowatt of heat energy for every 1 kilowatt of power they consume.

While the upfront costs of purchasing a heat pump can be quite steep, the amount of money you save on energy in the long run tends to far outweigh the initial outlay.

2. You’re spending more time indoors

Winter usually prompts some lifestyle changes that contribute to higher power bills. Most families tend to migrate indoors and hunker down for the winter, which naturally involves increased usage of electric appliances, devices, heating and lighting.

Sure, switching on your heated towel rail or spending more time cosying up in front of the TV might not sound like a big deal, but when you combine all of your household’s energy-sapping winter habits they can have a surprisingly big impact on your power bill.

3. You’re giving the dryer a good workout

When winter storms are a-brewing and you’re short on daylight hours, the trusty dryer is often the only way to get the laundry done. Unfortunately, dryers are fairly energy-hungry and cost around $1 in electricity per load, which can definitely start to take its toll on your power bill.

Keep drying costs down this winter by hanging your clothes outdoors whenever possible. Even if you can’t get your garments completely dry, partially drying them outside will help you cut back on the time you need to run your dryer for.

Help your dryer run as efficiently as possible by regularly cleaning out the lint filter. When the time comes to replace your dryer (or any other appliance for that matter) be sure to have a look at each product’s Energy Rating Label to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

4. You’re taking longer showers

There’s nothing quite like thawing out under a steamy hot shower on a crisp winter’s day. However, for the sake of your power bill, it might be a good idea to keep your shower time in check. A 15 minute shower costs around $1 in electricity, while a five minute shower costs just 33 cents. Drawing a bath can cost between $1 and $1.60 depending on the size of your tub.

The simple solution here is to limit shower times. Set a timer and challenge your family get in and out of the shower before the timer goes off.

5. Generation and distribution costs can change

There’s also a lot going on beyond the walls of your home that can impact your power bill. Power stations need to generate electricity (typically via hydro, geothermal, wind, cogeneration or thermal), which is then transmitted via the national transmission grid to local distribution networks before being delivered to your property.

When energy demand goes up (due to, say, a wintery cold snap), we have to rely on more expensive sources for generation, for example, coal and diesel. Electricity distribution costs also increase as the lines companies need to pay more to use the transmission grid. This can sometimes (but not always) have a flow-on effect on consumers and lead to higher power bills.

Pulse Energy absorbs fluctuation of such costs for customers so that your power bills reflect only your consumption changes but not what is happening in the New Zealand electricity market.

6. You received an estimated meter reading

Your power bill can sometimes fluctuate if it’s based on an estimated meter reading instead of an actual reading. An estimated meter reading is exactly what it sounds like: the amount of electricity that your energy provider estimated you used during the previous billing period.

You may receive an estimated reading if your meter reader was inaccessible or if your smart meter was not transmitting data correctly on the scheduled billing date. It’s important to note that the difference between your estimated read and next actual read will be balanced out to ensure you’re not paying more than you should!

Are you paying too much for power?

You don’t have to sacrifice comfort to keep your winter power bills in check. Instead, it’s all about being mindful of your energy usage and making little lifestyle changes that can lead to big power savings further down the track.

To save even more on power this winter, think about making the switch to Pulse Energy, New Zealand’s leading provider of low-cost electricity. Give us a call today on 0800 785 733 or fill out our online enquiry form and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly.

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