What is the difference between low user and standard user?

Family low user


In every region that Nova Energy supplies electricity we offer a choice of two main plan types:

Standard User plan

A Standard User plan is the cost-effective option for most customers. You pay a higher daily rate than the low user plan in return for a slightly lower price for each unit of electricity you use.

This plan will be cost-effective for you if your home uses more than 8,000kWh a year, or 9,000 kWh a year if you live in parts of the lower South Island.

Low User plan

If you don't use much electricity then you could benefit from being on our low user electricity plan. 

A Low User electricity plan has a lower daily charge and higher variable usage charge compared to a standard electricity plan.

This plan could be a good option if you use 8,000 kWh or less of electricity a year - 9,000 kWh if you live in the lower South Island region. The lower South Island region consists of all areas supplied by Nova Energy south of and including Christchurch, but excluding the West Coast.

The plan is only available for your primary residence. Holiday homes and separate connections (such as pumps or sheds) are not eligible for a low user plan. There are also some exemptions set by the government, but we will let you know if these affect you.

Would you benefit from our Low User electricity plan?

You’ll find your account's electricity use for the past 12 months below the usage graph on your monthly invoice. If it’s less than the threshold for your region – and you expect your electricity usage to remain less than the threshold over the next 12 months – you could save money by changing to the Low User plan.

The benefits of changing to a Low User plan are likely to be marginal if your usage is within 1,000kWh per year of the values stated above.

To qualify for a low user pricing plan your home must:

  • Be used or intended for occupation mainly as a place of residence
  • Be your principal place of residence, and
  • Not be covered by an exemption to the Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff Option for Domestic Consumers) Regulations 2004 (See Exemption notices section below).

If the Low User plan sounds right for you please check the Low User pricing for your supply region. If you are an existing customer and you want to change to a Low User plan, contact us via email at info@novaenergy.co.nz.

Exemption notices

The Minister of Energy has made exemptions for homes with certain kinds of power supply on the Marlborough Lines network in three electricity networks.


You can’t have a Low User option if you’re on the Marlborough Lines network if your home:

  • Is in one of Marlborough’s remote areas including: Kaiuma Bay, Pelorus and Queen Charlotte Sounds, Curious Cove, Point Underwood and Arapawa Island, French Pass and D'Urville Island, Upper Waihopai Valley, Upper Wairau Valley, Cape Campbell, Southern East Coast and Upper Awatere Valley and/or.

  • Is on 3-phase supply; and/or has a supply that’s with greater than 15kVA.

Marlborough Lines Company Notice of Exemption pdf | 435 kB

The exemption expires on 1 October 2024.

South Canterbury

You can’t have a Low User option of you’re on South Canterbury’s Alpine Energy network, if your home:

  • is on 3-phase supply and has a supply that’s with greater than 15kVA.

North Otago

You can’t have a Low User option of you’re on Network Waitaki in North Otago, from 1 December 2015, if your home:

  • is on 3-phase supply and/or has a supply that’s with greater than 15kVA.

South Canterbury and North Otago Notice of Exemptionpdf | 469 kB

This exemption notice is ongoing.

Why do you offer Standard and Low User options?

Nova Energy is required to offer Low User plans to all residential electricity customers who qualify under the Electricity (Low Fixed Charge Tariff Option for Domestic Consumers) Regulations 2004.

Read the regulations on the New Zealand Legislation website