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Consumers Switch Electricity Retailers

MCO MEDIA RELEASE
1 December 1999

Consumers Switch Electricity Retailers at Unprecedented Rate

November saw a huge increase in the number of customers who were recorded as switching electricity retailer - almost a quarter of the total since the electricity retail competition system was established in April.

Prior to 1 April, electricity retailers had no industry-wide arrangements to settle customer switching among themselves.

Over the past eight months, electricity retailers have used the new profile-based reconciliation system to settle the switching of 48,760 consumers - 11,842 of them in November. This is a strong indicator that the industry is supporting and using the new system to compete for consumers.

There are around 1.6 million electricity consumers in New Zealand. Similar systems overseas have resulted in around five per cent of the population choosing to change in the first year of operation. New Zealand is now experiencing a 'customer churn' of around three per cent for the first eight months of retail competition - right on target for that recorded by overseas systems.

The information has been released by M-co (The Marketplace Company), the company that developed the system to enable consumers to switch retail suppliers. Part of this system, which has been put in place by the electricity industry, is a national database, called the Registry. This database, operated by Cardinal Systems Ltd, identifies every electricity meter by way of a unique number or ICP (Installation Control Point).

The Registry currently contains 744,854 active ICPs. This is not, however, a record of every electricity meter in the country. Only ICPs of large customers and of customers who have switched retail company must be inputted into the Registry. Some companies have chosen to input all the ICPs they supply.

-ends-


For further information please contact
Philip Bradley, Chief Executive
Ph 04-473-5240 (bus), 025-916-186 (mobile)

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