Population increase generates extra power consumption in Waipa

23 February 2018

Waipa's popularity as a district for new residential and commercial development has brought with it a marked increase in power consumption.

In Cambridge there's more power use among commercial and residential users while in Te Awamutu it involved dairy-dominated rural power users.

Power use recorded by Waipa Networks in January 2018 was up 5.3 per cent compared to January 2017. Some of that could be contributed to traditional higher use during the summer months, as people try to keep cool. During the day, urban commercial power users crank up the air conditioning in shops and offices. In the evenings, residential homes are also switching their heat pumps over to cooling.

Waipa Networks chief executive Adam Fletcher said while heat pumps save power over using traditional electric heaters in cold weather, savings would be counteracted if customers choose to use the heat pump as an air conditioner in the warmer seasons.

"Timers on heated towel rails are also a good way to save power, as is the traditional 'switch it off' message for lights when a room is empty," he said.

"Thanks to the emergence of new technologies such as solar generation, battery storage and electric vehicles, Waipa Networks has now shifted its focus to helping customers make better use of their electricity supply."

Waipa Networks calls the new strategy Energy Advanced, encouraging customers to give thoughtful consideration to how and when they are using power. If most customers are using power at the same time, this puts a greater strain on the network.

"This is why Waipa Networks, like some other power line companies, has introduced Time of Use electricity pricing," Fletcher said.

"Rather than paying a single rate for every unit of power used, there are different rates depending on the time of day the power is used. It costs a bit more for example around dinner time but a lot less off peak between 11pm - 7am.

"The Off Peak time is when customers can set their dishwasher going, charge their electric car, or run their pool pump for example and pay a lot less because of the lower demand on the electricity Network."

Tips and tricks on how Waipa residents can use power more efficiently are available at waipanetworks.co.nz/customers/energy-efficiency

- Gary Farrow, Waikato Times

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