Having a baby this November? Contact Energy wants to help make life a little easier

Welcoming a new baby into the family is one of life's great joys. But for all they bring to our lives, it's no secret the arrival of a newborn can put an unwelcome strain on the budget.

From buggies and booster seats to nappies and new clothes, babies are something of a financial commitment. In fact, research by children’s charity Whānau Āwhina Plunket has found that having a child can increase household outgoings by up to $16,000 a year. 

Of course, when you meet your baby for the first time, it quickly becomes clear that the cost is all worth it.

But that doesn't mean the financial pressure goes away – and for some Kiwis, it can mean making tough calls about things like whether you can afford to turn on the dryer or run the heat pump. 

With that in mind, New Zealand energy provider Contact Energy has brought back its 'Fourth Trimester' initiative, helping Kiwi parents manage the budgetary pressures that come with the arrival of a newborn.

Under the scheme, up to 1000 whānau expecting a baby between 1-30 November 2023 will be eligible to have their energy bill covered by Contact for three months. 

"This means they can keep the hot water running or do extra loads of laundry worry-free," says Contact’s Chief Retail Officer, Matt Bolton.

This will be a welcome boost to many Kiwi parents-to-be, with research by Contact showing the pressure many are feeling around their finances. 

The biggest concern of those surveyed was the expected increase in household bills once their child was born, and the research also showed that nine in every 10 Kiwi parents noticed an increase in their power bill after having a child.

Just under half described the increase to their bill as significant, and for over a quarter of respondents, power bills increased by at least 20 percent after having children. 

"While Contact can't help with the cost of groceries or mortgage payments, we can help with the power to lighten some of the day-to-day costs for families during this special time," says Matt.

This will be the third time Contact has offered Fourth Trimester, with its earlier two editions of the initiative resulting in around $1.85 million of power being gifted to 2000 families – supplying each family with an average saving of $900. 

"Through Fourth Trimester, 2000 Kiwi families have enjoyed a combined 4 million hours of free power on us. To celebrate the latest Kiwi arrivals, we're giving around 2 million hours of free energy in total to up to 1000 more families – which should help them get set for a sweet as summer."

Matt says the families who have received help from earlier iterations of Fourth Trimester have been able to focus on enjoying life with their new baby, rather than worrying about upcoming bills. 

"One dad even extended his parental leave because the energy costs were covered," he said.

Fourth Trimester is open to existing Contact customers, but anyone expecting a baby between 1-30 November can become a customer to take advantage of the initiative, and there’s no obligation to stay with Contact once the three months are up. 

Applications are open from November 1 to December 3 2023, and you must be able to supply documentation proving your baby's actual date of birth (due dates are not accepted).

Matt says for Contact customers who don't fit the criteria for Fourth Trimester, but are feeling the pinch financially, there are other forms of support available, and they should "let us know as soon as possible". 

To see if you're eligible and apply for Fourth Trimester visit Contact.co.nz/Fourthtrimester

Article created in partnership with Contact Energy.