During COVID-19 power companies and network operators are considered an essential service.
Energy companies are prioritising maintaining a safe and reliable electricity supply to New Zealand, although it may take longer to get power back on when there are outages.
Gas companies will continue to deliver bottled gas during the lockdown.
There is enough energy supply to power your bubble. Because many businesses are not operating at this time there has been a reduction in the overall amount of energy being used throughout New Zealand.
During lockdown meter readers will not be visiting homes or businesses. If you want your bill to be based on your actual usage and not an estimate, ask your power company if you can supply a reading.
Contact your power company straightaway if you have an energy problem, such as a gas leak or faulty meter.
Power companies have emergency response measures in place to deal with safety-critical home visits if they are needed.
Being on the plan that best suits your energy use can save you money. Talk to your current power company to check if you are on the cheapest plan to suit your new lifestyle and energy use.
Using more energy at home can cause your bills to increase. EECA, the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority has produced some smart tips to help you reduce energy use.
Now, more than ever, it's important to stay connected and to ask for help when you need it. Each power company is offering slightly different support to their customers. If you are worried about paying your energy bills, in the first instance, contact your power company and ask what your options are.
There is financial support available if your income has been affected by COVID-19. The government’s financial support package includes wage subsidy support, mortgage holidays and business support and an increased winter energy payment.
To find out more see the financial support section of the COVID-19 website or call the free helpline: 0800 779 997
Regardless of whether you currently receive a benefit Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) may be able to provide financial assistance, including help with urgent utility bills if you have no other way to pay.
To government has doubled the Winter Energy Payment in response to COVID-19. It’s now $40.91 a week for singles and $63.64 a week for couples or families. It is paid as part of the regular WINZ payment for eligible people from 1 May through 1 October.
If you have any concerns do not hesitate to contact your power company. Many power companies are experiencing longer call times due to COVID-19. If you have a non-urgent energy issue, please first check your power company's online and mobile advice if you can.
If someone in your home is a medically dependent customer, they rely on mains electricity for critical medical support. For them the loss of electricity may cause death or serious injury.
If any member of your home bubble has become medically dependent, you need to let your power company know as soon as possible. You will be asked to provide documentation from a doctor.
Your doctor will help you work out a plan should a power cut occur. Medically dependent customers need to have a plan that will give them access to some form of backup electricity, to ensure that any power cuts won’t be a risk to their health.
If you normally pay your bills in person, contact your power company to discuss alternative payment methods.
Power Companies are aware that some customers are struggling because they aren’t able to go online to pay their bills. So, they are supporting with other ways to pay including, for customers with no online access, taking payments over the phone.
Being on the plan that best suits your energy use can save you money. Ask your current power company to check if you are on the cheapest plan to suit your new lifestyle and energy use.
If you do wish to switch, you can compare energy plans, power companies and check for a better deal at Powerswitch. It is a free and independent service.
It’s important to note if you are on a contract with your current power company, they may charge you a fee to end your contract early.
Unfortunately, during these times scammers are taking advantage of people.
If you receive calls, texts or emails from someone saying they are from your power company don't click on any links, buy anything or hand over information.
For further information on protecting yourself from scams and how to look out for them has been compiled by Consumer Protection.
Check out the organisations listed on https://www.ea.govt.nz/consumers/covid-19-advice-for-consumers/. They can help provide a range of advice.
If you an issue with your power company. Utilities Disputes, provides a free, independent dispute resolution service for electricity and gas. They can also help with your questions or complaints about bills, plans, customer service, supply, disconnection, switching or your meter.
Electricity in New Zealand
The Electricity Authority is an independent crown entity. We are responsible for regulating New Zealand’s electricity industry for the long-term benefit of consumers. Vist our media pages to learn about our response to Covid-19.