Consumer NZ’s electricity customer survey results released

Consumer NZ’s electricity customer survey results released.

Trustpower has been outed for low customer satisfaction in a survey of more than 1500 adult Kiwis. A Consumer NZ survey found the power company received the worst score of the big five power companies in the past three years.

“Trustpower’s rating was significantly lower than the industry average of 52 per cent," Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said in a statement on Wednesday.

Only 43 per cent of surveyed Trustpower customers reported they were happy with the service. But it wasn't the only brand. Contact Energy also scored below average with 45 per cent satisfaction.

The top three companies were all smaller brands - Flick Electric got the highest score for customer satisfaction (76 per cent), followed by Nova Energy (74 per cent), then Electric Kiwi (71 per cent).

The survey also revealed that cost of electricity remained a major cause of complaint. "For one in three [respondents], household power costs were a big worry," Mr Duffy said. "Over the past year, 17 per cent said they had trouble paying their power bills."

Mr Duffy also warned that late-payment fees were often disguised as “prompt-payment discounts”, and that such discounts acted as a penalty for consumers who missed paying by the due date.

Twelve per cent of survey respondents reported they had overdue fees added to their bill because they hadn’t be able to pay on time.

Meanwhile, of the five big brands, only Meridian had removed prompt-payment discounts fully. The Electricity Price Review, which reported to the Government in May 2019, recommended prompt-payment discounts be banned and retailers allowed to only charge reasonable late-payment fees.

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