NZ Government's Winter Energy Payment: Is It Enough?

Date May 3, 2021
Blog category Power
By Khristine Eusebio
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Winter is coming, and to help Kiwis prepare, the NZ government has started giving winter energy payments to beneficiaries and pensioners. While this is good news, people are still concerned about the rising bills and whether this payment from the government will be enough to pay for their basic needs in the coming months.

What is winter energy payment?

Winter energy payment is a government initiative given to NZ beneficiaries and pensioners to help them prepare for winter heating and other costs. There's no application process to qualify for this benefit, and the good thing about this benefit is you're not expected to use it for your electricity bill only. Think of it as a bonus that you can use depending on your current needs.

You'll automatically get a payment if you're getting the following:

  • NZ Superannuation
  • Veteran's Pension
  • Jobseeker Support
  • Jobseeker Support Student Hardship
  • Sole Parent Support
  • Supported Living Payment
  • Young Parent Payment
  • Youth Payment
  • Emergency Benefit
  • Emergency Maintenance Allowance

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Why do consumers feel like it's not enough?

The concern from Kiwis mainly comes from how the standard weekly payment may not be enough to cover most of their bills during winter.

According to Work and Income, $20.46* a week will be given to single people with no dependent children and $31.82* a week for couples and those with dependent children. Qualified Kiwis will get a payment from May to October this year.

*The exact amount of money you will receive will still depend on your situation.

Many, especially older locals, have already started preparing for their winter power bills by thinking of which utilities and other necessities they should give up, including medical needs.

One of the main problems is that many pensioners rely heavily on heat pumps and may just have to improvise during winter to get by. On top of that is the uncertainty of whether there will be more announcements of power increase this year, and how badly it will affect the consumers. Electricity Retailers Association chief executive Cameron Burrows has advised consumers to consult with their power company, especially those already having a hard time paying their bills.

How much more should they get?

Sure, the payment initiative is a great way to help Kiwis cope. Still, with the continuous increase of power rates and other utility costs, it's no surprise that people will demand a higher winter energy payment to keep up. According to Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Brooke Pao Stanley, the standard rate being handed out was insufficient to meet the basic needs during winter.

The payment was doubled last year as a response to Covid-19. This year, however, the payment returned to its standard amount. Doubling the payment again would definitely ease the people's worries, but Grey Power Central Otago president Margaret Hill thought that doing so would only prevent pensioners from going out and socializing at places that provide heaters during this season.

If you want a warmer home during winter, you can also apply for a Warmer Kiwi Homes grant which will provide you a heater or home insulation. Find out if you are eligible here.

Learn more about Winter Energy Payment here.

Avoid increasing power bills this coming winter. Make sure you're making the most out of your current power plan. Start preparing as early as today by getting the best plan for your household!

If you think your current plan doesn't match your needs, try our comparison tool and compare plans from leading NZ power companies, right here at glimp!

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