Questions and Answers
Do I need to contact my current retailer to let them know I have switched?
No. We will organise all of this for you seamlessly.
But if you are leaving a thermal electricity generator you are welcome to give them a hot leaving message!
How do you know whether my usage is day or night?
We are able to tell when your usage is occurring because most houses and businesses are installed with smart meters (if not we will organise for one to be installed).
Smart meters record data every half hour and then will communicate that information daily to the metering company who then send it on to us.
This allows us to give you up-to-date information on your consumption and to charge different amounts based on when your consumption occurs, for instance charging your electric vehicle at cheap night time rates.
Customers can access information on their consumption yearly, monthly, weekly, right down to the half hour.
Will you install a non-smart meter for me?
No. All of our customers are on smart meters in order to receive the extra benefits that Ecotricity provides. Benefits include, cheap night time electricity rates and being able to work out where savings can be made on current consumption. Furthermore, some networks require smart meters to be installed to comply with their charging rates. Legacy meters (non-smart meters) are also expensive to read on a monthly basis as they require a physical visit from a meter reader.
Smart meters are safe and approved by the World Health Organisation and New Zealands Ministry of Health to transmit data. By law, your data is transmitted through protected portals to ensure your privacy. Furthermore, under the Electricity Act, electricity suppliers are not allowed to use consumption data for any other purposes other than for billing customers.
Independent research from the University of Canterbury and an independent review have confirmed that smartbox signals pose minimal risk to health with emissions that are one hundred times weaker than cellphones which are in everyday use. View their report here
For more information and reports on the safety of smart meters visit http://www.health.govt.nz
If you are on an older style dial meter there is a charge to upgrade to a smart meter of between $30 and $80 depending on your type of meter.
How is the power 100% renewable when it all comes off the same grid?
Can we guarantee each electron comes from only renewables?
No. However, because electricity is an interchangeable commodity throughout New Zealand we are able to very accurately account for how much we are supplying our customers and conversely purchasing from renewable resources on an annualized basis. The net effect therefore is that we are only supplying from certified renewable sources.
We also take into account what emissions arise from the construction of the renewable generation plant, such as concrete, steel, transport to and from the site, transmission losses etc. A very detailed piece of work goes on behind the scenes!
Our carboNZero Certification for Electricity is based on international protocols and United Nations Product Specifications for supplying electricity from renewable sources. Carbon neutral electricity is offered in many overseas markets including Australia, the US and Europe. The carboNZero Certified Electricity programme has also been peer reviewed by an overseas expert. The reason it is important to support carboNZero Certified electricity is so that new renewable electricity is developed, in particular wind and solar.
To find out much carbon emissions you can save by joining Ecotricity, check out our energy carbon emissions calculator here.
Will you eventually sell gas and if so would I get a dual price plan like other companies?
Most definitely not.
At Ecotricity we are actively promoting a move away from gas. Gas emits up to 5 times more CO2e than electricity for comparable appliances like hot water, home or office heating and cooking. As a carboNZero Certified company we are encouraging our customers to decrease their emissions through making educated decisions about the right appliances.
Gas is also an expensive option compared to electricity. An example is hot water heat pumps are 300 – 400% energy efficient, gas is only 70 – 85% efficient. To find out more take a look at our information about gas here.
Hence we won’t be selling you gas. However, we do understand that getting off the gas is a long term decision. We therefore supply a growing number of customers who buy their gas separately, and in most cases, from their existing gas supplier.
What happens if the wind doesn't blow? Do I still get power?
We source our power from hydro currently but will be adding wind to the mix soon. When wind power is generated it is the first type of power to be dispatched to the grid. 99% of the time somewhere in NZ the wind is always blowing though! On still days electricity is generated using hydro and solar generation.
Do I still receive my local lines company dividends?
Yes, most definitely.
All applicable local lines dividends are passed on to you.
If I move house will I be stuck in my contract?
But you’re welcome to join us at your new address.
Do you do a prompt payment discount?
Prompt payment discounts are used as a hook by other providers to make you feel you’re getting a good deal. The reality is that if you are receiving a prompt payment discount, you are likely to be paying too much for your electricity.
We keep it simple by offering competitive prices from the start and therefore we do not offer prompt payment discounts.
We pride ourselves on providing transparency in our billing so that all third party costs like network and metering fees are passed on at cost. Please be aware though that if you are late paying a late payment fee will apply.
So, what are my carbon emission avoidances being compared to?
Your carbon emissions are being compared to the national average electricity CO2e intensity for the last 12 months, this is updated each month for the preceding 12 months.
What this means is – all of the kWhs (units) of electricity for the last 12 months are measured as well as the amount of CO2e emitted in producing that electricity. This can tell us on average how many grams of CO2e are emitted per kWh produced.
We can then take the number of kWh you have consumed in the month and multiply it by the months intensity and create an calculation of the amount of CO2e you have avoided.
Our carboNZero Certification for Electricity is based on international protocols and United Nations Product Specifications for supplying electricity from renewable sources.
Can I change between plans?
We will allow customers to move occasionally between plans when there is a significant change at your site. For example purchase of an Electric Vehicle, purchase of Solar, children moving out of home, etc. The plan start date will be the same as your current plan start date.