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9 reasons why your power bill might be higher than usual

It’s normal for your electricity bill to fluctuate slightly from month to month, but every now and then you might receive a bill that seems unusually expensive. There’s usually a rational explanation, but sometimes pinpointing the culprit can be a little tricky.

We’re here to help. In this article, we’ve rounded up the nine most common reasons why your energy bill might be higher than usual. 

1. Different billing period

You might be surprised to know that the number of days in your billing period (i.e. the number of your days you’re being billed for) can vary between bills. 

If your power bill seems higher than usual, there may simply be more days in your current billing period than in your previous one. Double-check by comparing the billing period on your current invoice with your previous bill. 

You can find the billing period at the top of the second page of your bill in the “Supply Address” section - check out this guide for more information. 

2. You’ve had a lot of visitors

Been doing a lot of babysitting? Did the in-laws come to stay? Kids back at home over uni break? 

If the population of your household has suddenly increased, it’s inevitable that your power bill will also go up. More people in the house means more showers, more devices to charge and more appliances to run - all of which can drive up your home’s overall electricity consumption. 

You’ll also notice a change in your power bill if members of the household start spending more time at home than normal due to, say, retiring, starting a home business or school holidays. 

3. You’re on the wrong user plan 

Here in Aotearoa, all electricity providers must provide low user plans, which are designed for electricity customers who use a small amount of power. 

North Island homes that use less than 8,000 kWh annually and South Island homes that use less than 9,000 kWh annually are considered low users, and may be able to save significant amounts of money on their power bills. Households that exceed these thresholds are considered standard users. 

You may be paying too much for electricity if you are on the wrong plan for your needs. You can see which plan you’re currently on by looking at the “Supply Address” section of your power bill. Feel free to give us a call on 0800 785 733 and we’ll review your electricity usage and switch you over to a new plan if it looks like you could be saving money.

4. The weather has changed

The most common cause of an unusually high power bill is a change in the weather. Generally speaking, most household’s power bills are higher in winter as the shorter days and cost of heating can have a significant impact on electricity consumption. 

Similarly, if you live in a particularly warm part of the country, you may find that constantly blasting your air-con can have a dramatic effect on your power bill in the summer months. 

The best way to mitigate seasonal power bills is to think about how you can keep your home at a more comfortable temperature all year round. Investing in quality insulation, reducing moisture in the air and opening your curtains during the day to let in some warmth can go a long way toward keeping your home cosy and your power bill low.

5. Inefficient appliances are gobbling up your power

Outdated appliances could be to blame for your unusually high power bill. Technology has come a long way over the years, making modern appliances substantially more energy efficient than their older counterparts. 

Minimise energy consumption by keeping your appliances well maintained and always switch them off at the wall when not in use. When the time comes to replace your older appliances and devices, look for energy-efficient options and make an informed decision by looking at the Energy Rating labels of new products.

The Energywise Rightware tool can be useful for finding and comparing energy efficient products. 

6. You’re using more hot water than normal

Water heating accounts for almost a third of your household’s electricity consumption, which means even a small increase in hot water use can affect your power bill. For example, taking longer or more frequent showers, or doing more loads of laundry than usual can all contribute to bill shock.

Be mindful of your hot water use by reducing shower time and investing in a showerhead that allows you to control the flow of water. You should also take the time to check your hot water cylinder for leaks and look around the house for any dripping taps.

7. The bill is an estimate

In some situations (for example, the meter reader isn’t able to access your meter) your electricity company may provide you with an estimated bill. 

Instead of being based on your actual power consumption, an estimated bill is based on your electricity usage from the previous year. If you’ve recently taken steps to improve the energy efficiency of your home, it’s likely that these changes won’t be reflected in your current bill. 

You can check the “Read Type” section of your Pulse Energy power bill to see if your bill is based on an Actual or Estimate read. 

If our meter readers are unable to access your meter, we’ll leave a card in your letterbox. If you’ve received an Estimate read and would like to update your reading to an Actual read, email a picture of your meter to customer.care@pulseenergy.co.nz or give us a call on 0800 785 733

8. There’s money owing on a previous bill

Your power bill may be higher than usual if there was a balance remaining on your previous bill. If you didn’t pay the full amount of your last bill, the remainder will have carried over to your next billing period, which may make your current bill look unusually high. 

9. Home renovations or extensions

Whether you’re revamping an existing space or adding an extension to the property, home renovations are a common cause of higher power bills. 

New living spaces require additional lighting, cooling and heating, and may contain new power-hungry appliances - all of which can increase your household’s energy usage and lead to higher power bills.

Cheaper power bills start here

Here at Pulse Energy, we pride ourselves on providing competitive electricity rates and exceptional customer service. Sign up online or give us a call on 0800 785 733 to find out how much we could help you save on your power bill.


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