Our advice on how to have cheaper shower wanks
I’m all about getting free advice while flatting. My landlord and I, fair to say, don’t have a great relationship―she screens all my calls, I send her emails with the words “Tenancy Tribunal” in bold. I definitely don’t want to deal with it with my electricity provider too.
Choosing a good electricity provider can be really difficult: companies and providers prey on your lack of experience, assuming being 19 and out living with your mates for the first time means you know nothing. Sometimes this means you’ll get slapped across the face with a ludicrously high electricity bill, and you’ve got to point the finger somewhere―your annoying flatmate Tim has been warm washing a lot of socks recently since him and his girlfriend broke up, and your resident clean girl Sarah is spending 45 fucking minutes in the shower having her “everything shower” every second night. The real finger you might want to be pointing? Straight at your provider.
If you’re new to flatting and are wondering if you’re paying too much for electricity, here are some helpful questions you might want answered.
Are promotions really worth it?
Short answer: it depends. Sometimes a daily free hour of power will be worth it for marginally higher rates; sometimes it’ll be less practical than it’s worth. A lot of power companies offer promotions to entice you to stay off the grid during peak hours, which keeps their own costs down. The problem with this? If you’re me and my flatmate last year, you’re booking two hours of free power in the middle of the night in July and turning your apartment into a sauna: the dryer is on, the heater is on, you’re both taking the longest showers you’ve had since you went home for Easter. Our advice? Think about when you’re actually using your power, and weigh it up. Sometimes it’s for the greater good to let Emma charge and use her SatisfyerPro for a full three hours from 6pm if it means you won’t have to hear her cry about her ex-boyfriend.
What about bundles?
Bundles are always an easy draw in for convenience―they combine your electricity, gas and broadband all into one bill, so it’s easier to get set up and pay once a month. However, what you’re saving on time, you might actually be losing in money. We’d encourage flatters to check your address on Powerswitch, a free online service that shows you the cheapest provider for your power, behind all the fancy footwork.
Can I be charged early termination fees?
Picture this: you’re moving out of your shitty flat early because of the black mould your landlord won’t fix. Your landlord already thinks your $1000 bond is their fucking birthright to keep, so they’re trying to charge you for a singular hair left in the shower drain. Then, you’re hit with an early termination fee from your power provider, adding salt to the wound. The easiest way to avoid this? From one pretentious law student to you: read the Ts and Cs. If you’re on a fixed term contract, there’s a good chance they’ll hit you with a fee for an early termination. Also, check whether you can transfer your electricity to a different property if you move―some providers don’t allow this, or charge a transfer fee.
What if I’m paying my landlord for power?
In shared properties where each individual dwelling doesn’t have its own meter, power can be covered in rent. Halls are a great example of this―you’re not paying anything extra for a 30 minute session in the shower or accidentally leaving your light on all night when you’re out in town. Sometimes this will be a fixed rate, like halls, where you can pretty much use as much power as you’d like. Sometimes it’ll be charged as a usage fee within rent. Check your tenancy agreement to know what’s up.
What if something goes wrong?
If you’ve got a problem with your electricity, gas or water provider that you don’t know how to solve, head over to UDL. They provide a free dispute resolution service. UDL works with you and your provider to ensure a fair outcome for everyone involved. If you’re worried that you’re being ripped off with your fees or getting constant power outages, you might want to check them out. Complaints can be lodged on their website (www.udl.co.nz) or by calling them on 0800 22 33 40.