New Zealand residential power prices have increased by a staggering 150 per cent in the last 20 years and are set to rise again from April 1. If power pricing continues to rise at the same rate for the next 20 years, households will fork out an additional $11.7bn for daytime power alone, compared to fixing the price they pay today.
Residential electricity prices rose by 3.8% in the year to March 2015, eclipsing inflation which was only 0.1% for the same period. Now it feels like electricity price rises are being reported almost daily.
The trend of rising power bills, with complex pricing plans and thousands of different pricing schemes, seems out of control and raises a whole series of questions, says Andrew Booth, the CEO of New Zealand’s leading solar energy services provider, solarcity.
“Today we’re launching the ‘Solar Power Switch’ campaign to shine a light on our nation’s energy costs and encourage a switch to solar. Let’s save money on power and use the savings to give the next generation a head start and to stop climate change in its tracks.”
He says the company’s solarZero energy service gives homeowners a smart way to take back control of their energy bills and beat rising power costs, especially with the winter months of heavy usage just around the corner.
“With solarZero you buy clean solar power at a rate that’s locked in at below 2014’s average rate of power and is guaranteed not to rise, except for any changes to GST, for the next 20 years.”
solarZero allows homeowners to buy solar, and other energy efficiency technologies, as a service. With the standard service there are little, or no upfront costs, just a low, fixed monthly fee that includes solar power, any necessary upgrades, monitoring and personal energy advice.
“With our energy services you simply switch a portion of your grid power bill to solar which can save you thousands of dollars on power bills over the long term.”
As a product extension to solarZero, solarcity has partnered with Panasonic to help Kiwis reduce their reliance on the grid even further by coupling solar panels with state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries.
Panasonic’s battery allows homeowners to use solar power long after the sun goes down with the added peace of mind of back-up power to a few critical devices if there is an emergency or natural disaster.
Panasonic Managing Director Stewart Fowler says this winter, energy bills across New Zealand will be the highest they have ever been and that New Zealanders can make a significant difference by adopting solar, batteries and LED lighting.
A composite image, featuring a house built by Jennian Homes, is indicative of how smart new technology, combining solar panels and battery storage, will look.