Latest Network pricing

New Firstlight Network pricing from 1 April 2023 

The new annual prices came into effect on 1 April 2023. Overall, the majority of customers can expect very little or no change to the Network portion of their power bill, which covers transmission and distribution of electricity.

As was the case last year, the 2023 pricing reflects the government’s gradual phasing out of low fixed electricity pricing plans; a slight year-on-year reduction in Firstlight Network’s allowable regulated revenue; some updates to methodologies used; and increasing power usage in the region.

Tariff charges for the pricing period will reduce overall by 1.3%, with varying movements across the customer categories.

For all domestic customers, the fixed charge portion of Firstlight Network’s line charges has increased 50% to reflect changes in government regulations. However, to balance this, the variable charge portion has been reduced. As a result, most domestic customers will see their overall distribution prices stay effectively the same or drop slightly.

Here’s what this means for customers:

There are five thousand customers on the standard domestic tariff (high power users of over 8,000kWh a year). The Network portion of their bill will reduce by an average of 3%, or $33 for the year.

Fifteen thousand customers are on the low fixed charge domestic tariff. The majority – 13,500 customers – will effectively have no change at all, while the other 1,500 will have an average increase of less than $3 a month.

Firstlight Network has over 5,500 non-domestic customers. Of these, small commercial customers will see their annual distribution charge reduce by 3% for the year. Medium commercial customers will experience a small overall rise of, on average, just under 5%.

Large commercial and industrial customers will have a range of changes to their pricing, with low users seeing increases to their distribution charges while those with high consumption seeing a decrease, ensuring pricing is more cost reflective.

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Low fixed electricity pricing plans 

The government is phasing out low fixed electricity pricing plans across New Zealand, starting from 1 April 2022. The change was a key recommendation of a 2019 independent panel review of electricity prices.

The review found low fixed charge regulations were poorly targeted and resulted in a number of unintended consequences, such as shifting costs to households with low incomes and high electricity use.

The change means that the electricity sector can implement fairer pricing plans for distributing electricity, which will ultimately help networks manage the load more efficiently during peak times.

How a power bill is structured 

Prices are strictly regulated and must comply with the Commerce Commission’s Default Price-Quality Path Determination requirements. On average, Firstlight Network’s line charges make up around 40 percent of the total cost on an electricity bill, although this does vary depending on different retailer offers.

Lines charges are a combination of transmission charges, which are passed on from Transpower, and distribution charges.

Firstlight Network bills these line charges directly to energy retailers, and they incorporate them into each customer’s power bill. The remaining costs are determined by the retailers.

Time of Use tariff option 

With Firstlight Network’s Time of Use tariff, residential consumers have the ability to reduce their electricity bill by shifting some of their power use from peak to off-peak times.

Off-peak times are Monday to Friday 9pm to 7am, 11am to 5pm, and weekends. For example, turn on your washing machine and dishwasher during those off-peak times, and you’ll be paying a lower price for your power. 

To take advantage of the Time of Use tariff, you need to have a communicating smart meter, and choose a suitable plan from your retailer.

Check you’re getting the best electricity deal

There are more than 20 electricity retailers you can choose from in Tairāwhiti. Research shows that people who switch regularly can save more. Switching retailers is straightforward. To find out the best plan for you, visit this free and independent website: