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3885 posts

Uber Geek

  #1790821 28-May-2017 21:06



Typically, we use 350 to 400 units per month, with usage being relatively stable throughout the year as we use a wood burner.  Our electricity charge is $0.41c/unit. More, because Aurora in Otago has been slack with line maintenance the line usage charge looks like going out of control over the next few years, it may be time to go off-grid. Does anyone have any information as to whether one should go completely off-grid with large battery reserves, or use the method whereby you sell back unused power back to the supplier, or some combination of both methods?


PS we have an electric 8kWhr califont shower so we need periodic high usage power for 15 mins/day.





@mugs2000 Have a look at your power companies off peak controlled rates. They are likely to be far lower than what you are currently paying. You will need to replace the electric califont heater with a hot water cylinder, and have it heated via the night rate power. In effect using the cylinder like a battery in that it is storing energy in the form of heat.


Also check how much LPG via the 45kg bottles cost in your area. In Auckland it is around $100 per bottle, with a $100 per year fixed fee. So that translates to around 16.4c per unit. Change your hot water and cooking to gas. And as well as lower power usage, your peak power load will also be far lower. This means you can switch to the cheaper 8kVA connection size that Aurora offer. And change power companies to Flick Electric. As with gas cooking and hot water (Im assuming your wood fire provides 100% of your heating), You will have low peak time power usage. Therefore you will have above average savings with Flick Electric.


An offgrid system would cost you at least $15,000 And could easily go to over $20,000. You would still have to get gas installed to remove the cooking and hot water loads from the offgrid system. And almost certain you will need a diesel generator as well to get you through times when there is hardly any sun. And you would still need to allow for between $50 to $100 per month to cover system maintenance and eventual replacement of parts (especially batteries).




About the only time an offgrid system makes sense is when you are doing a new build, and the power company has quoted you a massive price to get power connected to the property. The other thing to consider is that you would be on a low user plan due to only using max 400 units per month. This means that the lines company is only allowed to bill you 15c per day max in fixed fees. (Rest of the fixed fees goes to the power retailer). No way would that even come close to covering the fixed costs in providing power to your house. So Aurora is forced to add a really high per unit surcharge onto the power that you use. And not surprisingly due to the really high per unit costs, people spend lots of money on things to reduce power usage. So less total power used per house divided by the exact same fixed costs = the lines company being forced to keep on raising their prices.


And since you have an electric califont water heater, your peak load would be the same if not more than 2 houses. So other Aurora customers are actually subsidising your usage.

62 posts

Master Geek

  #1790888 29-May-2017 08:41
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Thanks for the info @Aredwood


1522 posts

Uber Geek

  #1790976 29-May-2017 10:45
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According to my usage history I use an avg of 18kwh a day. Water heating is electric but have a wood burner for heating. Gas hob for cooking and electric stove that we barely use.




110 Sq M house with 2 bedrooms and two people.

22561 posts

Uber Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #1790980 29-May-2017 10:46
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I don't have a power unit count right handy, but I know we spend between 220-300 a month on power and our Water heating and cooking is on Gas. 


687 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1790988 29-May-2017 10:56
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2 Adults, one young kid.  Lowest is 340kWh in summer, then up to 940kWh in Winter.  In April we used about 500, in May so far about 700.


All electric, dishwasher about 5 times a week, drier maybe 1-2 times a week in winter, Heatpump in winter only..


House is 100m2, built in the 60s

3573 posts

Uber Geek

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  #1791001 29-May-2017 11:12
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2 adults, 1 small child in an early 1850's house. 2 storeys with insulation in the roof and underfloor. Wife is from a tropical country so an oil column heater in the bedroom goes on at night and she uses an electric blanket a lot. We have a wood burner which is throwing out a good amount of heat (now that I've finished fixing it up) which is probably our saving grace. Our average yearly consumption is 630 units per month - variations from summer to winter are low 300's to low 900's. We're with Contact paying 18.566c/KWh and a daily line charge of a bit under a $2.034/day which is quite steep but we get a 20% prompt payment 'discount'. For our last bill (750 units) we paid $189.09. 

613 posts

Ultimate Geek

Lifetime subscriber

  #1791021 29-May-2017 11:49
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Many years ago I used to give consumer advice regarding power bills.


The main questions to ask were "is your plan the most suited?" and "how and when are you using the power?".


We admittedly have solar water heating but we also have two extra adults and two grandchildren living with us but our bill is never over $300 pm.


Night rate and delay start appliances can save heaps.


Putting lids on pots and turning the element down helps (also saves heating and condensation)


Boiling only enough water for the hot drinks can save heaps (rather than boiling far too much water then letting it cool).


Rinsing in cold water avoids filling your pipes with hot water which then goes cold.


You may scoff at these but you would be surprised how many people do not realise how they can be costly mistakes.



5680 posts

Uber Geek

  #1791031 29-May-2017 12:09
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In Nelson we average <$200/month.


1014 posts

Uber Geek
Inactive user

  #1791059 29-May-2017 12:56
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Boiling only enough water for the hot drinks can save heaps (rather than boiling far too much water then letting it cool).





Not really. Assuming water at ambient temperature of say 15°C, 90% energy efficiency, 28c/kWh it's $0.03 to boil 1L of water. If you're boiling 1L and using 200mL, then the wasted amount is 2.4c each time. Yes, it's still wasted, but do it 4x a day for a month and you're still only talking ~$3/month. Many kettles have a minimum of 500mL to boil anyway.


There's much more to be saved by having a timer on the HWC so it can only reheat when there's people at home, or manually switching it off at the breaker (although you run the risk of forgetting to turn it back on).




But I digress.


2 people, ex-state house with minimal ceiling insulation only in Auckland, all cooking and heating done with electricity - $140/mth rising to $180/mth in the coldest part of winter. Usually about 6000kWh/year.

3344 posts

Uber Geek


  #1791079 29-May-2017 13:26
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OP: that's some very high usage.


Do you have an old fridge/freezer?  Have seen starter/run capacitors go bad and cause high power usage on those.


Otherwise I don't know what might be causing your high usage.  You might need to isolate circuits / appliances until you find the culprit.

753 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1791083 29-May-2017 13:40
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Averaging for power\electricity about $135 a month.


2 Adults 2 Kids, heatpump, dryer, PC's, bathroom fan heater for colder mornings, dishwasher used daily, sometimes twice a day. Top loader washing machine going daily on a cold wash


On Contact energy. Long time customer, getting over 20% PPD.


However, add a gas bottle once every 5 weeks or so @ $98. Bottled gas handles the hot water heating and hobs for cooking. Electric oven.

1723 posts

Uber Geek


  #1791202 29-May-2017 16:32
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Click to see full size


My daily consumption for the last 12 months. The Y-axis is kWh.


We have 3.4kW of solar PV, which provides for most of our day time usage in summer, and whilst we have a standard HWC, we also have solar H20 heating which means close to zero hot water heating in summer. This is why the summer usage is so low.


We have a 2011 built home with very good insulation and thermally broken joinery etc. There is hydronic underfloor heating, driven by an air-to-water heatpump which only runs from 9pm - 7am (as required) to take advantage of the cheap night rates here in ChCh.


The house is never cooler than 22 degrees. 


Monthly bills range from < $100 in summer to a max of about $250-275 in winter. This used to be a lot less, but the arrival of a baby daughter has meant a lot more energy usage.

1605 posts

Uber Geek


  #1791304 29-May-2017 18:21
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OP: that's some very high usage.

Do you have an old fridge/freezer?  Have seen starter/run capacitors go bad and cause high power usage on those.

Otherwise I don't know what might be causing your high usage.  You might need to isolate circuits / appliances until you find the culprit.

Hey @ubergeeknz we have mostly new appliances. When we moved we got a new fridge, new chest freezer, new front loader, new dryer.

One of our TVs is a 42 inch plasma, main TV is a 50 inch LCD. No desktop PCs - we have Chromebooks and laptops.

I'm strongly suspect the hot water. I did turn this down to 60 degrees late last year as it was way too hot.

I might turn it off for a day and see how we go.

1605 posts

Uber Geek


  #1791315 29-May-2017 18:39
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Ok so have dusted off my efergy switch and will check each of the big draw items in the house...

468 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1791329 29-May-2017 18:58
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we built a 216 sqm 4 bedroom 2 lounge 2 bath house 2 1/2 years ago.


gas water and hob, led lights,


my meter outside reads 9347KWH since new so thats 311KWH per month average. 


2 adults 2 kids under 10 who think making washing is their mission in life




We use the dishwasher every day. and the dryer prob does one load a day also. 2 fridges


We have a 14KW ducted heatpump for heating/ cooling the house

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