Your flat should have power when you move in, but it's not free. Call your preferred power company to set up an account.
Powershop (powershop.co.nz) is easy to manage - you can keep your meter current via the web yourself. It's also easy to use with a simple pricing structure that even BA students can understand. Remember you hold the power, so you can change electricity providers anytime if your current provider is ripping you off. Just chat with the new provider and they will take care of everything for you.
How much do you expect to spend on electricity in your flat, and how can you make savings? Visit powerswitch.org.nz to estimate what your flat's power usage might be and evaluate the pros and cons of various appliances. Power is more expensive in winter (it costs more per unit in winter and you use more of it). Winter power bills can sneak up and take you by surprise. And it's never a good surprise. Be prepared!

How to Save Power

- Replace normal light bulbs with energy-saving ones.
- Block off draughty cracks and unused fireplaces. They can suck out 15-25% percent of the heat in your flat.
- Try to convince your landlord to get you full-length, thermal curtains. They're the only kind that effectively stop the 25-35% heat loss that occurs through glass. Or try to buy some at your local op shop.
- Showers are more economical than baths, but a crappy showerhead will cost you more than you need to spend. If it takes less than a minute for your shower to fill a 10 litre bucket, ask your landlord for a new showerhead.
- Your hot water cylinder doesn't need to be more than 60 degrees. Don't let it go below that, though, or nasty germs will grow in there.
- Each dripping hot water tap costs $80 per year. It's your landlord's responsibility to fix these.
- Switch off lights that aren't being used, and don't leave appliances on standby (this is a fire hazard as well as a waste of money).
- Only do full loads in the washing machine or dishwasher.
- Only boil the amount of water you need in your electric jug.
- Put lids on your pots - they'll heat quicker, needing less electricity to do the job.