marsden_online: (Default)
Copy of my farewell note to Powershop, after paying my final balance this evening.
Dear Powershop,

alas the time has come when we have to part ways. It was inevitable - I was always going to be graduating to my own solar generation one day and as far as I am aware your model just does not support feeding /into/ the grid just yet.

It's been great being with you for the past 5 years. The day-to-day energy reporting you brought into my life would have been worth more but as promised you also reduced my electricity bill significantly, and never let a month go past without some surprise or special. Although I am leaving you here, I shall continue to enthusiastically recommend you to my energy-conscious friends and acquaintances.

Don't miss me too hard though - I'm only going as far as your parental unit Meridian. So it's possible in days to come some small amount of my power will flow to or through you. Who knows, if my dreams of a solar-covered suburb or city ever come true I might be able to return one day as part of a generator.

Yours with fondness,
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
A bit over a month ago I changed electricity companies, moving to PowerShop from Meridian.

As I said at the time the move was not because of price, but because whatever their usage-reporting, it's bound to be light years ahead of what Meridian provide.

So how has it stacked up? Well, my (smart) meter is now read daily just after midday and the data is visible in my online control panel the next day (except at weekends it seems). I can also download it if I wanted to perform more in-depth analysis.

How pretty? This pretty.

1. Smoothed data (I don't find this display particularly useful yet, but I have to drill past it to get to the good stuff)(please note it has a different vertical scale to the other two images)
Smoothed power use 22 December to 22 January

2. Unsmoothed daily power usage (for each preceding 24-hour period)
Daily power use 22 December to 22 January

3. Daily power use by meter register (Night use, Weekday day and Weekend Day)
Per register power use 22 December to 22 January

This last one is the most interesting until it's possible to meaningfully compare longer time periods. See those occasional big spikes in night use? That's when I have the hot water cylinder turned on. Smaller spikes tend are either myself or [ profile] zakzahn staying up late (early) playing computer games.

Hitting the power button on the TV (not leaving it on standby) also saves about a unit per night (and the same during the day). From a power saving perspective just being able to look at this information is a powerful motivator for remembering to turn things off when they're not in use (I'm particularly bad at leaving the TV going & wandering off).

So am I saving money? So far - the first month cost a little more than half what I would have expected to be paying Meridian. BUT of course Powershop doesn't have the annual price averaging that the other companies do, the cost fluctuates based on the spot market and there is currently a surplus of generation capacity / prices are at their summer low. In winter I may yet wind up paying more (I'm not pre-purchasing for that period - this year), in 12 months time I'll decide if the savings are real.

The 20% discount on weekend power which was another sweetener for moving only amounts to a few $ a month and comes in the form of a monthly account credit. So to make best use of that (if you can get it) wait until it's arrived before making a power purchase / paying your bill, depending on how you want to look at it.

I still have invites that will get people a $50 credit* for signing up with PowerShop - of course you can probably also get that credit just by asking for it if you are moving from another company rather than connecting a new flat :)

*I also get a $25 credit for the referral :) They also promise guaranteed savings to you of another $50 in the first month.
marsden_online: (Default)
Shame it isn't a bit warmer out.
The PowerShop change happened today. No real data yet of course. Looking forward to my smart-meter doing its thing.

I have invites with bonuses - $50 credit with your account for up to 10 people who sign up because of me (and I get $25 credit per person) so if anyone has been considering switching on their own initiative I'm happy to use them. Or wait a while and read my future reports before deciding :)

My washing machine is slowly dying :(
marsden_online: (Default)
Admittedly I didn't expect it to be at 7:10pm.

They opened with the assumption that I was making the switch to PowerShop because of the 20% discounted weekend electricity, a notion of which I quickly disabused them. Their counter offer was interesting though - a 20% prompt payment discount (through to April) instead of the usual 10% (effectively a 20% discount on -all- my electricity use + their daily + the levy).

It was enough to make me pause, but not enough to make me change my mind. Better data > extra $5-$15 a month.


Nov. 18th, 2009 09:16 am
marsden_online: (Default)
Just received a power bill (the monthly, not the termination which I expect sometime in the next month). Over the last month my night-rate use has plummeted by about 500 units (a whopping 70%). This can be attributed to turning off the nightstore heater and the solar really starting to kick in.

What's most interesting though is what it does to the weighted average cost of my electricity - from holding steady at ~17c/unit over the last 12 months (better than the 19c/unit I expect to be getting from PowerShop*) it jumps to 21c/unit.

* my weighted average does not include EC levy and lines charges which are bundled into the PowerShop price so it's not quite apples with apples. I'll run those numbers out of curiousity at some point.
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
PowerShop must be making the push into Christchurch, because they called me this afternoon.

I did not move because of the $50 credit which comes with the 60-day trial, because that's exactly the same as every other electricity retailer has offered me this year (but without the trial period).

I did not move because of the 20% discount on all power used between 7am - 9pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

I did not move because they promise to save me money (impossible to prove, since my use profile has changed with the addition of the solar).

I did not move because I expect it to be cheaper (I've been tracking my weighted spend/unit against the prices on their website for the past 12-18 months, and it invariably comes out equal to their lowest price).

I did not move because they offer an individual rate tailored to my electricity usage and patterns.

I may have moved partly because they're actually doing something with the so-called Smart meters.

I definitely moved because whatever their usage-reporting, it's bound to be light years ahead of what Meridian provide (ie monthly totals, broken down into day/night on your bill if you're on such a plan). Give me that juicy juicy data on my usage patterns, so that I may make better informed decisions about who supplies my electricity in the future.

And they called and made it easy to undertake a shift which I was probably going to make sooner or later.

Side note: what Meridian could offer to win me back (I expect a call from them in the next couple of days).
- equivalent or better access to my usage data
- assistance layering my house with solar panels and feeding excess juice back into the grid (legal if technically non-trivial, but doesn't gain them anything).
marsden_online: (Blueknight)
My TelstraClear bill this month came with a glossy flyer bearing this little header. The first paragraph advised that the fee for late payment is being increased. The rest of the flyer attempted to use this as leverage in extorting the recipient to sign up for bill payment by credit-card or direct debit.

If there was a viable alternative I'd be thinking about changing something, but it wouldn't be my method of payment. I have a very strong aversion to letting someone else take arbitrary amounts of money from my bank account, and if I'm going to have a question about my bill it's going to be before the corporate gets it's hands on any of my money, not after.

I don't mind that they're changing their T&C, but they could have just sent a letter (or an email). I'm not sure what ticks me off about this leaflet more:

The casual and impersonal insinuation that I might not pay my bills on time / be able to manage my money
- by extension (as I am a fairy unremarkable customer with a good payment history) that they don't trust any of their customers to pay on time - and what does that say about TCs company culture / relationship with it's customers?

The fact that they are trying to change my behaviour through the use of threat and intimidation
- subtext of the flyer is "ooo, if you don't pay your bill on time we might have to send the collectors after you, we wouldn't want that would we, better change to this other way of paying".

Compare this to Meridian Energy's way of encouraging people to pay on time - where TC is using the stick they use the carrot. That 10% discount (disregarding for the moment the fact that their prices are doubtless lifted to compensate) makes you feel good about getting in early, rather than making you feel threatened by not getting in on time.

Apropos of energy companies, Powershop is offering discounted power at the weekends, if you happen to live in Christchurch/Central Canterbury and have a Smart Meter installed.

It's claimed to be the "the first smart-meter product in New Zealand".
marsden_online: (Default)
An article in the Herald put me on to Powershop, a new service aimed at letting you buy your household electricity from a variety of suppliers instead of being tied to the one. Basically exposing yourself to the spot market I guess. The idea was interesting enough that I sat down and plugged details of the last 11 months power bills into a spreadsheet* to see if I could save money, taking the current best price available on the PowerShop site. Even optimistically though, I'm better staying on my Meridian Night & Day plan by a few hundred dollars a year.

* because MyMeridian is pretty hopeless. For instance the 'compare your electricity usage' graph only seems to show the current calendar year, which means right now I can see January 2009 vs January 2008 and 11 months that haven't happened yet. Not incredibly useful, ne? I'd like to see the past 12 months, at least, thanks.

While I was at it I popped over to the Consumer PowerSwitch site and fed the details of my last bill in to see what it recommended. I might be able to save ~$80 a year if I switch to Genesis - not sure that's worth it.

Of course Meridian has just notified me their prices are going up and I don't know if PowerSwitch has taken that into account yet, so I might repeat this exercise in a few months.

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