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Your power bill

A quick guide to the pricing on your power bill

Your electricity bill – which you receive from your energy retailer – is typically made up of:

  • The daily fixed charge, which is generally a cents per day charge
  • The variable charge, which is a charge for electricity you use


These may be split and described as anytime (24 hours), hot water/controlled, peak, off-peak, or shoulder, depending on how many meters you have or the retail plan you are on.

Some retailers may use other billing methods.

Here are the costs that contribute to an average power bill

Distribution pricing

Distribution pricing refers to how Northpower charges energy retailers for delivering electricity to your place.

Fixed prices

The daily fixed charge on your electricity bill is made up of some of the cost of delivering electricity across the Northpower network to your property, along with some retailer fixed charges.

We charge energy retailers for using our network, to ensure we have enough funds available to maintain and upgrade our electricity lines network. They then decide how they pass this cost onto their customers.

We’re gradually adjusting our prices to increase the fixed component (e.g. the daily charge) compared to the variable component (e.g. the charge per kWh). This is because the costs to run an electricity network are mostly fixed, so over time most of our revenue will come from the fixed charge.

Your daily fixed charge may vary depending on whether your property is:

  • your principal place of residence
  • non-principal place of residence (like a holiday home)
  • commercial
  • or non-domestic supply (like a pump or temporary builders supply)

The variable charge

Your power bill will show one or more charges based on the amount of electricity (kWh) that is used at your property.

Generally, there’s a separate price for electricity with 24 hour availability (anytime), and for electricity supplied to electric water heating which we control at peak times (controlled).

A portion of the variable charge comes to us to fund our electricity network. The rest is kept by the energy retailer to pay for the electricity they purchase from electricity generators and their own internal costs.

You can compare our distribution pricing with the prices on your electricity bill if you’re interested in seeing the difference. Remember to bear in mind however the effects of GST and payment discounts when looking at these figures.

Time of use pricing

Time of use pricing has different charges depending on the time of day that electricity is used. This is because electricity networks are a bit like roads – they can get congested at times of the day when everyone wants to use them.

If we all shift some of our energy use to off-peak times (like turning on your dishwasher or dryer later at night or charging your EV overnight) we‘ll reduce the need for costly network upgrades and share in the benefits by keeping prices lower.

We charge your retailer utilising the time of use pricing model– they then decide whether or not they pass this on to you.

You can view our network pricing details here.

Understanding your electricity bill fact sheet

The Utilities Disputes website has a great fact sheet explaining the different parts that make up your bill.