Make sure you’re paying the right lines charge.
You could save thousands.

What are lines charges?

Lines charges are what you pay the local lines company to deliver your electricity from the national grid and across their network to your business.

Lines charges typically account for around 40% of your total energy bill. But we’ve seen some businesses spend more on lines charges – for the delivery of electricity – than they paid for the actual electricity itself. These businesses can usually slash thousands from their annual energy costs by making a few simple changes.

How are lines charges calculated?

Lines companies put their customers into different categories – called load groups – depending on how much electrical load a site is likely to use. Each load group has a different tariff – and often these tariffs are radically different to one another in terms of the end cost to you.

The particular load group your lines company puts you in is often determined by the size of the main fuse on your switchboard. But the appropriateness of that fuse size might not have been checked in years, if ever. Consequently, many businesses have a far higher capacity fuse than they actually require.

Sometimes this can work in your favor: for some load groups, moving into a higher load group might get you significant savings. But for other plans, moving to a lower load group might be cheaper. Either way, you might be able to save a small fortune just by effectively changing a fuse.

How often to lines charges change?

Line companies generally change their prices on the 1st of April each year. Often they’ll make changes to their tariffs that radically alter the economics of one load group compared to another. So it’s vitally important that you review the appropriateness of your lines plan every year. You don’t want to pay a cent more than necessary, let alone tens of thousands of dollars.

How do I change to a more economical load group?

Moving load groups requires the approval of your local lines network. But we’ve seen sites in every region drop thousands from their energy bill by doing just that. For instance:

  • In Wellington a large Motel saved $30,000 per year by dropping to a lower load group. And a Pub saved $4,000 by moving to a higher one.
  • In Bay Of Plenty a large office had a far higher fused capacity than they needed. They saved $6,000 per year by dropping down two load group categories.
  • In Wairarapa a pub saved $5k per year – plus got a $7k refund – from their lines company
  • In Christchurch a manufacturing plant got a $52,000 refund for overpayment of lines charges from their retailer.

These examples are not rare. For every load group in every lines network in the country, many customers will save thousands by switching to a more appropriate load group. Furthermore, every single lines company in the country has sites where the fused capacity has been recorded incorrectly, putting sites on the wrong lines plan altogether.

Talk to us now on 0508 332 474 to make sure you’re on the right plan.