NZ Power Customers Switching Suppliers In Record Numbers

There are now many more electricity brands on offer to consumers.

According to data from the Electricity Authority, if every New Zealander switched power companies within the last year, a combined total of $307 million could of been saved.

In the year to December 2015, 12 of New Zealand's 16 regions had an increase in the number of electricity retail brands available for consumers to choose from.

Consumers switched among them in record numbers – almost 418,000 consumers changed their electricity supplier during the year.

The Electricity Authority said the average amount they could save was $175 a year.

Carl Hansen, Electricity Authority chief executive, said the market was becoming increasingly competitive, as consumers started to take more notice of what was available to them.

The report showed growth in small, independent brands. Together, these brands now have almost 80,000 customers, up 12 per cent compared to the year before.

"While many of these retailers remain small, they are adding competitive pressure from the margins, which means the larger players need to keep innovating in order to maintain their market share," Hansen said.

"As well as more choice in the number of retailers available, a big trend in 2015 was more innovative electricity plans and payment options on offer," he said.

The number of pre-pay electricity contracts has increased substantially. At the end of 2015 there 43,560 pre-pay accounts, compared with 30,804 pre-pay accounts at the end of 2014. There is also a trend for contracts that have different pricing at different times of the day—119,953 consumers are now on this type of contract."

The Authority's review lists a range of other new options that are now available to electricity consumers including one retailer offering a "free hour of power", one retailer bundling electricity with gas, telecommunications and pay TV, other retailers passing on spot electricity prices and a range of new consumer apps and web tools available to help customers manage their bills or monitor their usage online.

Some retailers are now offering electricity plans targeted to electric vehicles or solar schemes.

Hansen said consumers should regularly check they were getting the best deal they could.


NZ Ranked Second for Switching Power Companies

When it comes to consumers switching power companies, New Zealand has been ranked number two, according to a World Energy global study, with New Zealand ranking up from 5th place in 2009 to 2nd place in 2011.

The report shows a steady increase in New Zealanders looking for cheaper options and getting the best deal for their money by switching energy retailers.

New Zealand was noted to be a fastest rising in rankings, fast approaching the ranked number one, Victoria Australia. Thanks to comparisons services such as the Electricity Authority’s What’s My Number campaign and independently owned, both offering free energy comparisons.

New Zealand’s switching rate has been heading upwards since 2008, from an annual rate of 10.5% in the year 2008 to a high 19.5% in the year 2011. The report shows that there has been an increase in retail competition, giving the consumer more of an incentive to switch power companies. Proving the free comparison services such as What’s My Number and Switchme are working.

Carl Hansen, The Electricity Authority Chief Executive says placing greater pressure on the electricity companies has made the energy industry much more competitive, which is increasing the number of consumers to switch to another energy company that can offer them a better deal.

“From our perspective switching rates are part of a more complex equation. What we may in fact find in the future is that lower switching rates may also indicate a highly competitive market as it may show that retailers are being driven to offer very similar prices, removing the incentive for consumers to switch.”

Over 350,000 New Zealanders choose to switch power companies in 2011 and collectively stood to save $8.7 m. In the first six months of 2012 almost 180,000 made the switch to a new retailer.

The What’s My Number and Switchme have also combined to launch a free comparison tool (RFP) for businesses. This is the first free business comparison tool to be launched in New Zealand and will revolutionise the small to medium businesses compare sign sign up to a cheaper power company. So far the Request for Pricing (RFP) tool has proven to be very popular and already has saved businesses across New Zealand thousands on their power bills.

For more information regarding saving money on your energy bills for your home or business, please call the Switchme team on 0800 179 482 or visit