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Guide to Unison Pricing

Guide to Unison Pricing

Want to better understand what your electricity bill means? We know it’s not the easiest to decipher, so we’ve developed this overview to help you understand what the different price categories are.

Reading your electricity bill

Unison’s electricity distribution charges (which also include charges from Transpower, the National Grid operator) will be included in the price you pay your electricity retailer, so it may not be easy to see which electricity distribution price category you are in or how our charges are reflected in the retail rates that you pay. Some retailers bundle our charges into their fixed daily rates and variable per kWh rates, while others provide itemised bills, so you can see how much of your charges go to Unison and how much to your retailer.

It is a common mis-understanding that the fixed daily charges on your bill are for the electricity lines and the variable charges are for the electricity going through the lines. This is not the case. Government regulations require Unison to recover our costs through a combination of fixed daily charges and variable charges, despite our service to you being largely fixed.

If your bill doesn’t separate the lines and retail charges and you want to know the break-down, you will need to talk to your retailer about whether you can obtain that information. To make it easier for your retailer to identify you, , the one consistent piece of information on your invoice will be your Installation Control Point (ICP) number. An ICP number is a unique number that is assigned to identify an individual consumer connection point, and is used by both electricity retailers and distributors to identify your supply.

If you have any questions regarding the type of pricing plan you are on, please contact your electricity retailer with your ICP number, and they will be able to advise you of your distribution price category, and whether you may benefit from changing category to one more aligned with your usage.

Types of electricity consumer


A residential connection is where the consumer’s connection is for a private dwelling (intended for occupation mainly as a place of residence) and is not normally used for any business activity.

The supply must not exceed 1 or 2 phase 60 amps, or 3 phase 40 amps.

Non-Permanent Residential

Residential properties not permanently occupied, such as shearers quarters, or holiday homes.

Temporary Supply

This applies to a connection to Unison’s network that is temporary, such as a builder’s temporary supply. This category of connection must either be removed within twelve months of installation, or converted to a permanent connection group and pricing plan.


A general connection is the same size as a Residential connection but is used for a wide variety of non-residential uses. For example, this could be for workshops, small retail or offices, and small water pumps.

Distributed Generation

This category applies to customers with Distributed Generation (DG) connected to Unison’s network (such as solar panels). It applies to all new connections from 1 April 2016. For customers with a DG connection installed prior to 1 April 2016, this price category will not become mandatory until 1 April 2019.

Medium – Large Customers

This category applies to consumers with a connection greater than a General connection, 1 or 2 phase 60 amps, or 3 phase 40 amps. This category usually applies to business customers.

Industrial Customers

This category is for customers with a connection greater than 1 MVA, or with specific supply requirements. Pricing is customised based on requirements.

Definitions of common pricing plan components

Uncontrolled A metered supply that provides uninterrupted energy.
Controlled A separately metered supply that allows Unison to control energy to permanently wired appliances, such as hot water cylinders.
Night Only/Night Boost Not commonly used now, the 'Night Only' or 'Night Boost' categories are designed for separately metered supply to permanently wired appliances, such as hot water cylinders or night store heaters, which are switched on at specific times during the night.
All Inclusive An 'All Inclusive' supply allows Unison to control energy to permanently wired appliances, such as hot water cylinders, and is combined with an uninterrupted supply of energy to all other electrical appliances.
Day and Night

A Day / Night supply is provided via a single meter which separately records consumption during the Day and Night periods.

Day hours: 7am - 11pm.
Night hours: 11pm - 7am.

Summer and Winter

(Large Commercial Customers)

Seasonal variation is generally applied where load on a network has a distinctive seasonal pattern.

Currently Unison applies Summer and Winter 'On Peak Demand' prices to large commercial connections. The Winter price is higher to recognise this is when the network is closer to capacity and transmission costs from Transpower are at their highest.

Summer period: 1 October to 30 April.
Winter period: 1 May to 30 September.

Power Factor

(Large Commercial Customers)

This is applied to a commercial connection that adversely affects the network with a non-compliant 'power factor'. Poor power factor reduces the efficiency of the network for other users, however this can be remedied. If you have been charged a Power Factor, please contact your Unison Customer Account Manager.
Time of Use A residential customer with a meter installed that has the ability to measure energy use at various time intervals.
Low Fixed Charge Group A residential connection where the consumer uses less than 8,000kWh per year. Previously termed as 'Low User Charge'.
Standard User A residential connection that uses more than 8,000kWh per year will pay less on a Standard User Plan than a Low Fixed Charge Plan. Standard User Plans have higher fixed charges, offset by the lower variable charges, compared to the Low Fixed Charge Plans.
Fixed Charge This is the daily charge applied to a connection, and remains the same for each day throughout the year.
Variable Charge A variable charge will change depending on the amount of electricity that is being consumed. The variable charge on a residential plan will be based on how much is consumed, kWh, over a period of time. Larger commercial connections have variable charges that are based on the maximum amount of power and demand required at any time during a month.