Ōtautahi – Over the past year, New Zealanders who switched power provider using Powerswitch collectively saved over $5 million.
“That’s $5 million that will stay in the pockets of people paying for power, rather than bolstering the profits of electricity retailers,” Powerswitch’s manager Paul Fuge says.
In the year ended June 2023, there were 662,742 Powerswitch users and 27,314 switch requests on the Powerswitch site.
The power plans available on the Powerswitch site make up almost 97 percent of the market.
Powerswitch is a free and independent comparison service run by Consumer NZ that helps people check they’re on the best plan to meet the needs of their household.
Powerswitch data shows people who switch providers can typically save $385 a year on their power bill, Fuge says.
“We want to see even more people using the Powerswitch service to check whether they could be getting a better deal.
“When more people switch, it generates competition in the market and forces retailers to sharpen their prices to hold on to their customers.
“There’s no such thing as premium electricity – so why pay more than you have to.
“In our latest energy survey, 62 percent of people said they were concerned about their electricity costs, and 19 percent of households reported they had experienced financial difficulty paying their monthly power bill in the last 12 months.
“Despite the savings available, the number of people changing provider remains stubbornly low. The paradox is bamboozling.
“According to data from the Electricity Authority, only around 6 percent of households changed provider in the last year, excluding people moving house.
“For every one percent of households that switch electricity provider there would be collective savings of around 7 million dollars a year. That’s money that should be retained by hard-working New Zealanders instead of boosting power company coffers.”
Consumer NZ estimates over 40 percent of households have been with the same power provider for more than five years. The big four retailers and their subsidiaries provide power to more than eight in ten households across the country.
“Time and time again, our research shows that customers with the smaller power providers are more satisfied with the service they receive, including the price they pay for their power. But still, so many people stay with the big providers.
“It only takes a matter of minutes to check, switch and then save. It really could not be simpler.
“This winter we also have a dedicated Powerswitch call centre to help people who have limited online access or struggle to use the internet.
“We want as many people as possible to check to see if they could be saving. Together we can bring down the country’s power prices,” Fuge says.