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Kiwis take power into their own hands

A record number of New Zealanders switched electricity companies in 2017 as competition in the market increased to never-before-seen levels.

More than 440,000 ‘switches’* between electricity companies were made during the year, beating the previous record of 417,642 switches in 2015 by more than 5 per cent.

Electricity Authority Acting Chief Executive John Rampton said it was pleasing to see consumers exercising choice and “shopping around” for better deals.

“Competition in the retail electricity market is continuing to grow which is positive for consumers: it means both incumbent and new entrants need to innovate on things like new and different price offerings, consumer control and transparency in order to win and retain customers,” Mr Rampton says.

According to Electricity Authority data, there are now more than 40 retail electricity brands to choose from across New Zealand, up from 22 five years ago.

“Small or medium size retailers – those outside the largest five retailers by number of customers - now account for more than 10 per cent of the retail market,” Mr Rampton says.

“Some of these new entrants have grown their customer base by as much as 20 per cent in 2017 as they look to target innovative offers to consumers.”

More than 40,000 households are purchasing electricity products in ways that didn’t exist five years ago. That includes consumers choosing spot-priced contracts or paying through bundles that include gas and broadband.

“We encourage consumers to shop around for the best electricity deal for their situation and take advantage of opportunities in the market. They can do this by visiting What’s My Number or calling their current retailer to discuss options,” Mr Rampton says.

*A ‘switch’ occurs when the Installation Control Point (the physical point connecting a home to the local distribution network) changes from one electricity retailer to another.

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