New Zealand
Seven Sharp

Consumer NZ encouraging Kiwis to switch power providers

Thu, Jun 1

Consumer NZ is encouraging Kiwis to switch electricity providers in the wake of its latest power satisfaction survey.

By Daniel Perese

The organisation said "across the board the customer satisfaction rating is a measly 54%".

However, smaller retailers are still leading the pack when it comes to keeping customers satisfied.

Powershop came out on top once again in the annual survey, being awarded Consumer's People's Choice status. The organisation remarked it was the sixth time the company has achieved the accolade since 2015.

Frank Energy also received the award, with the companies receiving satisfaction scores of 74% and 67%, respectively.

Consumer said Contact and Trustpower scored satisfaction ratings below the industry average, while Meridian had a score of just 46%.

The organisation said power providers which score below the satisfaction average provide power to 56% of Kiwis.

Satisfaction rates between companies vary widely.

Consumer's Powerswitch manager Paul Fuge told Seven Sharp: "On average, people are saving around $400 per year by switching provider. Now that's increased by around 25% from around 18 months ago, so savings are actually increasing."

He added around 90% of people who visit the Powerswitch website see savings of at least $100 or more.

However, Fuge revealed "too few Kiwis" are actually switching — only around 6% of people are doing so at the moment. He said around half of Kiwis have been with their current provider for five years or more, and a quarter for more than 10 years.

"That gets worse as people get older. Around 65% of people 50 or older have been with their provider for more than 10 years. And those people are paying much more than they should for electricity."

When Seven Sharp hit the streets to talk to the public about their power companies, a lot of them said "no" they have never switched.

When asked why, one man said: "Can't be bothered", while a woman said: "I just don't really care that much." Another woman remarked she was happy with her provider already.

However, Fuge emphasised "switching is pretty easy".

The Powerswitch website allows people to compare plans and providers "and if you choose to switch providers all it generally takes is the push of a button", Consumer says.

Fuge also said people can negotiate their plans with their provider if they don't want to switch.

"Retailers feel they can keep prices high because people just aren't changing provider, so if more people switched, overall prices would reduce," Fuge said.


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