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NZ Consumers Paying Up To $300 Year Too Much

MEDIA RELEASE

23 January 2004

NZ Consumers Paying Up To
$300 Year Too Much For Power

The latest PowerSwitch survey, conducted by Consumers’ Institute, has found consumers could be paying up to $300 a year too much on their electricity bills.

The survey, carried out last week, showed that Energy Online was offering the best prices to Auckland Central and Manukau households, and these could be as much as $200 a year cheaper than the other six retailers in the region.

In Wellington, Genesis provided residential consumers the best deal by a $45 a year margin, while in Dunedin, Contact Energy was a clear first choice for the cheapest electricity. Dunedin also saw the most variation across suppliers, with consumers potentially paying up to $300 a year more by being on an inappropriate tariff plan.

Of the four main centres, Christchurch was the only city where there wasn’t a big price difference between the lowest and highest priced electricity retailer. Christchurch also had the lowest amount of choice with only three retailers, offering six plans.

The PowerSwitch survey analyses likely power consumption for typical households in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Region Small Household Best Deal Medium Household Best Deal Large Household Best Deal
Auckland Energy Online
Residential Energy Online
Residential Energy Online
Residential
Wellington Genesis Energy
Household Saver Composite Genesis Energy
Household Plus Composite Genesis Energy
Household Plus Composite
Christchurch Contact Energy
All Day Economy Contact Energy
All Day Economy Contact Energy
All Day Economy
Dunedin Contact Energy
All Day Economy Contact Energy
All Day Economy Contact Energy
All Day Economy

Chief executive, David Russell said the survey is timely given the current spate of price hikes.

“Empower customers on Auckland’s North Shore, and Trust Power customers in Otago have told us they are facing big increases in the coming weeks. By using the free PowerSwitch service consumers can find the best power company and tariff plan for their needs.”

“Electricity is a commodity and every consumer should choose the cheapest supplier to remind retailers that there is competition in the market.“

“The electricity reforms of the past 15 years have done little for domestic consumers but at least most now have the ability to choose suppliers. By exercising that choice, electricity retailers might wake-up to the fact that they can’t crank-up prices whenever they wish.”

“While the survey gives a useful guide, many households have unique profiles and are located outside the main centres. We would encourage all consumers to visit PowerSwitch and enter their own details to find the deal that suits their individual situation” said David Russell.

PowerSwitch is a free service listing all domestic tariffs. It is produced by Consumers’ Institute and funded by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Emily Carpenter Consumer Charitable Trust.

Ends.

NB: The survey uses three indicative consumption profiles. It is a purely quantitative (price) survey and does not reflect customer service. The profiles assume an all electric household and do not take account of bonds, direct payment discounts. For a comprehensive picture and a full explanation of the survey’s parameters, visit www.powerswitch.co.nz.

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