This page provides information for our residential and business customers on network pricing.
MainPower provides distribution line services (poles and wires which deliver electricity to homes and businesses) to a population of over 65,000 people in the North Canterbury and Kaikoura region. Approximately 76% of our customer base is residential, with the majority of the remaining being small commercial, farming or irrigation customers.
We consult with our customers on an annual basis to gauge their general level of satisfaction with the distribution services we provide, as well as on price and quality expectations.
MainPower generally performs well in terms of both reliability and quality of supply. Our customers also tell us that they would definitely not be willing to accept poorer levels of power quality and reliability in exchange for a lower price or discount.
What am I paying for?
MainPower does not bill customers direct for distribution lines services. Instead, we charge electricity retailers for the delivery of electricity over the MainPower network. Electricity retailers determine how to allocate this cost, together with energy, metering and other retail costs, when setting the retail prices that appear on customers’ electricity bills. According to the Electricity Authority website, around 26% of your electricity bill goes to paying costs involved in the local distribution of electricity.
Network Pricing FAQs
What is changing with network charges?
From 1 April 2022, MainPower’s network charges will be increasing. For the average residential customer, this will result in an increase of around 10% on the transmission and distribution portion of your power bill.
This will take effect through an increase in the transmission charges that are passed through to customers and a reduction in the Qualifying Customer rebate and customer discount.
The rebate and discount are paid as a percentage off the fixed daily charge. The new rebate rate is set at a 24.2% for residential customers and a 9.9%% for non-residential customers.
The overall increase in network charges is due to two factors. Firstly, the national grid operator, Transpower, has advised that they will be charging MainPower $13.4m in transmission fees for the 2021-22 financial year. This is a 7.3% increase on the 2020-21 financial year charges of $12.4m. MainPower is required by the Commerce Commission to pass these charges through to consumers in our pricing.
Secondly, MainPower continues to re-invest in the network and the network continues to grow, with more than 600 new customers forecast to connect to the network in the coming year. In order to meet the needs of the communities MainPower serves, an increase in network development and maintenance spend is required.
How will I be impacted?
This will depend on the pricing plan you are on and how your retailer chooses to bundle the pricing in your electricity bill. The impact will vary depending on your individual circumstances and how much electricity you consume.
The average residential customer is likely to experience an increase in their network charges of approximately 10%. This increase only applies to the transmission and distribution portions of the electricity bill sent by your chosen electricity retailer, not the overall bill.
Please contact your retailer if you wish to discuss pricing plans or visit the Powerswitch website to make sure you are on the most suitable plan for you.
When do the changes come into effect?
From 1 April 2022.
Why are changes to network charges necessary?
The need to increase investment in network development and maintenance, and Transpower’s increase in transmission charges, will mean that the Qualifying Customer rebate will also decrease from 1 April 2022.
For the 2022-23 year, the new rebate rate is set at a 24.2% discount off the fixed daily charge for residential customers and a 9.9% discount off the fixed daily charge for non-residential customers.
How do the MainPower rebate and Kaiapoi Electricity discount work?
MainPower pays a rebate to Qualifying Customers i.e. customers connected to the MainPower distribution network (excluding customers on a builder’s temporary supply). Customers connected to the former Kaiapoi Electricity network are not Qualifying Customers.
The monthly rebate paid to Qualifying Customers is applied as a percentage discount off the fixed charge. The rebate is passed through as a discount on the power bill that you receive from your retailer (though some retailers choose not to show this discount on their invoices). Customers connected to the former Kaiapoi Electricity network will have a customer discount applied to their fixed charge equivalent to the MainPower rebate.
From 1 April 2022, the new rebate rate is set at a 24.2% discount off the fixed daily charge for residential customers and a 9.9% discount off the fixed daily charge for non-residential customers.
What makes up MainPower’s billing?
Your electricity bill is made up of several elements, one of which is the costs of delivering electricity to your property via MainPower’s network, a process known as distribution. The distribution charge accounts for around 27% of your total electricity and is made up of a combination of fixed and variable charges.
MainPower is also charged by Transpower for the costs of transmitting electricity from the electricity generators through the national grid to the MainPower network. We are required by the Commerce Commission to pass these charges through to consumers in our pricing. Transmission charges account for approximately 10.5% of your electricity bill.
MainPower’s network charges on your electricity bill are made up of both electricity transmission and distribution charges.
How are transmission charges changing?
The national grid operator, Transpower, has advised that they will be charging MainPower $13.4m in transmission fees for the 2022-23 financial year. This is a 7.3% increase on the 2020-21 financial year charges of $12.4m.
MainPower is required by the Commerce Commission to pass these charges through to consumers in our pricing.
The increase in transmission charges, coupled with the need to increase spend of network development in the 2022-23 financial year, accounts for the overall increase in network charges to MainPower customers. These changes will take effect from 1 April 2022.
Are network charges being used to fund the Mt Cass Wind Farm?
No. Costs related to the Mt Cass Wind Farm development by regulation cannot be recovered through network charges.
Why are the Low User Fixed Charges changing?
The Government has decided to phase out Low User Fixed Charges over the next five years.
The Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tarif Options for Domestic Consumers) Regulations known as “the low fixed charge regulations” were introduced in 2004 partly to reduce the impact of high fixed charges on customers with low consumption and fixed incomes and to encourage energy conservation. Under the regulation, MainPower, as the lines company for North Canterbury, was only able to charge customers eligible for the low user tariff 15 cents per day as a fixed charge. The electricity retailer is able to charge an additional 15 cents per day.
Unfortunately, as time has passed, the low fixed charge regulations have had some unintended consequences. Firstly, the regulations have had the effect of benefitting a large number of customers who do not need assistance, for example small households in modern well-insulated houses at the expense of larger families in poorly insulated homes. The regulations also enabled people who could afford to install solar PV panels to reduce their electricity bills at the expense of other customers who used more electricity.
The phasing out means MainPower will only be able to gradually increase the low fixed charge by 15 cents per day each year between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2027. The electricity retailers are subject to the same requirements.
Support that may be available and further information can be found at the following websites: