The Standard User plan:
Has a higher daily charge, but a lower charge per kWh used, so if you’re using lots of electricity, the lower unit charge balances things out. If you’re living North of Christchurch and using more than 8,000 units a year you’re generally better off on a Standard User plan. Further south, the threshold is 9,000 units a year.
The sorts of situations we’d expect of Standard Users include households of more than two people who are home a lot and use a lot of electricity for heating and hot water, or large flats. Heating methods more than anything will contribute to higher usage. Heaters used constantly, like panel or oil heaters, underfloor heating, uninsulated hot water cylinders, and heated swimming/spa pools all contribute to higher usage.
The Low User plan:
A Low User plan is generally suited to people using less electricity than average. It’s designed so that the fixed rate is no more than 30 cents a day but the unit rate is higher, which means if you don’t use much electricity you’ll pay less than you would on a Standard User plan. If you’re living North of Christchurch and are using 8,000 units or less a year you’re classed as a low user. Once again, further south and the threshold increases to 9,000 units per year.
Low Users tend to be households of one or two people living in well-insulated, energy-efficient houses and/or homes with gas heating or hot water.
You're only eligible to be on a Low User plan for your primary residence. That means holiday homes, secondary properties, or second meters (for a shed, gate, or pool pump, for example) are always classified as standard user ICPs, even if they only use a small amount of electricity. This is enforced at the network company level and is the same for all power companies.
More confused than ever? Read more about Standard vs Low user power plans.