New TLC pricing gives customers control
28 August 2018
A new approach to electricity lines charging has been confirmed with The Lines Company (TLC) giving its customers more control over what they pay.
The company will roll out a fundamentally new way of charging from October 1 this year. The change will see a simpler, more transparent pricing structure in place with bills no longer driven by historical demand peaks.
TLC chair Mark Darrow said the move was in response to consistent customer feedback and was a strategic one in line with industry standards and direction. The new pricing structure is more equitable, simple and transparent than the previous structure and gives customers the ability to control their costs.
Customer feedback had played a major part in the change, he said.
“Customers have told us our costs were hard to understand and challenging to control so we’ve listened to that and responded accordingly. This change aligns with the industry’s view of the future and is a significant change from how things have been done in the past.”
The majority of TLC customers will pay a daily fixed and variable price based on different times of the day. How much they pay for lines charges will vary depending on how much electricity is used and when. Lines charges will be cheapest off-peak between 11pm – 7am and most expensive at peak from 7am-9.30am and 5.30pm-8pm.
“We have been clear that under the new pricing structure, some customers will pay more and some will pay less based on current usage patterns,” Mr Darrow said.
“But to help people adjust to the new pricing, for the first 12 months no customer will pay more than 20 per cent than what they paid under the old system over a comparable period. We will also be offering more flexible payment options and new ways to pay.”
TLC will offer weekly, fortnight or monthly options to smooth out payments. The company will also provide ways to support customers reduce energy use and overall energy cost. Further details will be finalised and released before October 1. Support measures, including capping bills for customers facing increases, will be a significant cost to the business but are important for customers to help manage through a transitional period, Mr Darrow said.
For transparency, TLC will continue to send out its bills separately to energy retailers.
Mr Darrow said TLC will not collect more revenue as a result of the pricing change; in fact helping customers adjust was estimated at around $3 million. The company will continue to reinvest in maintaining a safe and robust electricity network, he said.
Under its new pricing structure, TLC will continue to charge under the regulatory cap set by the Commerce Commission.