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 2023, MainPower’s network charges will be increasing. For the average residential customer, this will result in an increase of around 11.2% (around $8 per month) on the transmission and distribution portion of your power bill.
The overall increase in network charges is due to multiple factors. MainPower continues to re-invest in the network and the network continues to grow, with more than 1,000 new customers forecast to connect to the network in the coming year.
To meet the needs of the communities MainPower serves, an increase in network development and maintenance spend is required. The overall cost of procuring network equipment and supplies has increased due to the current economic environment, resulting in further upwards pressure on pricing.
The rebate and discount are set at 19.9% off the fixed daily charge for residential customers and 7.4% off the fixed daily charge for non-residential customers.
How will I be impacted?
This will depend on the pricing plan you are on and how your electricity 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 11.2% (around $8 per month). This increase only applies to the transmission and distribution portion of the electricity bill sent by your chosen electricity retailer, not the overall bill.
Transmission charges are required to be passed through as a fixed daily charge where possible.
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 2023.
Why are changes to network charges necessary?
MainPower continues to re-invest in the network and the network continues to grow, with more than 1,000 new customers forecast to connect to the network in the coming year. Like all businesses, MainPower is facing significant increases in the cost of procuring goods and services.
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 2023, the rebate and discount are set at 19.9% off the fixed daily charge for residential customers and 7.4% 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 cost 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 bill 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% of your electricity bill.
How are transmission charges changing?
The national grid operator, Transpower, has advised that they will be charging MainPower transmission fees for the 2023-24 financial year of $13.0m (prior year $14.3m).
MainPower is required by the Commerce Commission to pass these transmission charges through to consumers in our pricing. The Electricity Authority requires that these transmission charges be passed through as a fixed daily charge where possible.
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 decided to phase out Low User Fixed Charges over five years from 2022-2027.
The Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff 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 was able to charge an additional 15 cents per day.
As time has passed, the low fixed charge regulations have had some unintended consequences. The regulations have had the effect of benefiting many 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 benefited 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: