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
Your electricity bill is made up of several elements, one of which is the cost of delivering electricity to your property via MainPower’s network, a process known as distribution. The distribution charge accounts for around 26% of your total electricity bill and is made up of a combination of fixed and variable charges.
From 1 April 2020, MainPower is adjusting the balance between ‘fixed’ and ‘variable’ charges so that MainPower’s distribution charges better reflect the actual cost of delivering electricity to customers.
As MainPower’s costs are largely fixed and not related to the quantity of electricity consumed (e.g. our ongoing maintenance programme, costs of transmission passed on from Transpower), MainPower is adjusting the balance between the fixed and variable charges. From 1 April 2020, the fixed portion will form a larger portion of your distribution charge and the variable charge will reduce.
Why do prices need to change?
The Electricity Authority requires that distributors urgently improve the efficiency of their distribution prices because technology is rapidly changing how electricity is produced and consumed. These changes affect how distribution networks are used, and how distribution services should be priced. Cost-reflective pricing is for the long-term benefit of consumers, by ensuring that distributors make efficient investments in their networks and consumers make efficient network use decisions and investments in solar power, batteries, and electric vehicles.
The most recent piece of work in 2019 was a Pricing Review.
The Electricity Authority wants EDBs to update their pricing methods to charge prices that better reflect the actual cost to provide the electricity to customers. This includes increasing fixed charges as this is more reflective of the high proportion of fixed network distribution costs.
Why have the fixed prices increased?
As an EDB, most of MainPower’s costs are fixed. The previous pricing structure, weighted towards variable pricing, meant when consumption varied, revenue varied as well. However, MainPower’s costs do not vary in line with the change in electricity being consumed, as MainPower always needs to maintain assets to consistently provide a safe and reliable network.
This means increasing the fixed charge and reducing the variable charge ensures MainPower can continue our scheduled maintenance programme and maintain the quality and reliability of your electricity supply.
What is happening with the MainPower rebate?
MainPower pays a rebate to Qualifying Customers i.e. customers connected to the MainPower distribution network. Customers connected to the former Kaiapoi Electricity network are not qualifying customers. The rebate has been previously paid as a discount on the variable charge.
From 1 April 2020, the monthly rebate paid to Qualifying Customers will be applied as a percentage discount off the fixed charge. The rebate will continue to be paid 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 discount applied to their fixed charge equivalent to the MainPower rebate.
The percentage discount is 43% for residential customers and 17% for non-residential customers off the fixed charge.
Is MainPower increasing its revenue through changing prices?
MainPower’s target revenue will not be increasing. MainPower’s overall revenue requirement is projected to decrease in the 2020-2021 financial year compared to the 2019-2020 financial year. This reduction in target revenue is driven by several factors including a decrease in the charges paid to Transpower for transmission services.
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.
Each customer will be impacted differently depending on their individual circumstance and how much electricity is consumed. Some customers will experience an increase and some customers will experience a decrease in their distribution charges relative to the previous year.
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.
What does “rebalancing” pricing mean?
It costs MainPower different amounts to get electricity to different customer groups. This is due to different assets used and equipment being required to supply different customer groups, as well as their usage patterns.
For example, the cost of supplying electricity to residential users is different to the cost to supply electricity to irrigators. This is because supplying irrigators requires electricity at a higher voltage which calls for different kinds of assets and greater use of the high voltage network.
The charges need to be rebalanced across all the customer groups to more accurately reflect the actual cost to supply these groups.
I have multiple ICPs on my property, what does this mean for me?
If you have more than one electricity connection on your property, the amount you pay for your fixed line charges will increase in proportion to the number of connections you have.
To reduce the impact of this, there are a number of options you may want to consider including reconfiguring the ICPs on your property.
For example, decommissioning a connection point which is no longer used, or, sub-maining connections from another connection point e.g. if you have separate connection points for a water pump and a house, you may be able to sub-main the pump from the house depending on whether your house supply has spare capacity. These options would have the impact of removing the fixed charges for that connection point.
If you would like to discuss this further please use the contact form or call 0800 30 90 80. MainPower are happy to assist where we are able and may be able to schedule a visit your property to give you an idea of what could be changed, including any associated costs. Alternatively, you may also wish to contact your electrician to discuss options for reconfiguring your ICPs.
What’s happening with transmission charges?
The national grid operator, Transpower, has advised that MainPower’s transmission charges for the 2020-21 year will be $11.9m, this is a reduction from the 2019-20 level of $13.7m. MainPower has passed through this reduction in the new pricing from 1 April 2020.
I’m an irrigation customer, how does this impact me?
The fixed daily charge you pay will increase and the variable kWh charge will decrease resulting in a higher proportion of your charges being fixed. This means your charges will be less affected by the quantity of electricity you consume in any given month and therefore more consistent and stable throughout the year.
Your overall charges will also be more consistent and stable from year to year, independent of a wet or dry irrigation season. This will allow you greater predictability of your distribution charges.
As your fixed charges are proportional to the irrigation pump motor size you have, it is important that the information held by MainPower on pump size is accurate. We encourage you to contact us on 0800 30 90 80 to confirm the installed irrigation pump motor rating (kW) and we will begin the process to update your pump details if necessary.
Are lines charges being used to fund the Mt Cass Wind Farm?
Costs related to the Mt Cass Wind Farm development by regulation cannot be, and are not, recovered through distribution lines charges.
My irrigation pump size is different to what is showing on your records, what should I do?
As your fixed charges are proportional to the irrigation pump size you have, it is important that the information held by MainPower on pump size is accurate.
We encourage you to contact us on 0800 30 90 80 to confirm the installed irrigation pump motor rating (kW) and we will assist with the process to update your details if necessary, alternatively you can complete the Amend Power Supply form on our website and note within the form that you would like your “irrigation capacity reassessed”. MainPower will then schedule a visit to verify the new pump details are accurate.