Households miss chance to save on power
New Zealanders have more tools than ever to manage their power bills, but many are not making use of them.
A survey by research firm Canstar Blue shows a third of New Zealand households worry about the size of their power bills.
But many are not doing simple things that would reduce them – 51 per cent of people leave their TV and radio on stand-by, 30 per cent do not use energy-saving light bulbs and 40 per cent do not live in a well-insulated house.
Canstar Blue general manager Jose George said power companies offered customers information with their power bills to help them reduce their consumption, which 70 per cent of people said they understood.
He said it was disappointing that they were not turning more of that into action.
"For many of us, as mortgage rates rise and inflation increases the cost of our power and fuel, we'll be considering ways to reduce pressure on our finances. Looking at how we use our power and how to get 'smarter' is a great place to start."
Canstar's research showed 40 per cent of people had compared electricity prices in the past year but only 13 per cent had gone on to switch providers.
Contact, with 562,000 customers, said its app that offers customers the ability to monitor their daily power usage had been download 31,000 times.
At Mercury, a spokeswoman said 60 per cent of customers used the company's online energy monitoring tool. "Each week, GEM customers receive a personalised email providing them with a daily breakdown of how much power they've used in the past seven days, a bill forecast so they know what to expect and tips on how they can keep their power usage in check."
George said many of the new electricity providers offered new ways to save money, such as Electric Kiwi's free hour of power each day, and Flick's variable pricing structure.
"The power market in New Zealand has radically changed in the last few years. As well as the 'big five' larger providers there has been the emergence of a number of smaller, companies focused on delivering innovative power solutions. Basing their proposition on using the latest technology, they give customers more control and ultimately better prices for their power."
Luke Blincoe, chief executive of Electric Kiwi, said his customers were engaged with their bills, which they could opt to receive weekly, fortnightly or monthly. "Because we give them that hour of power it gives them a reason to engage with their bills.
"If you're just paying a fixed rate monitoring your usage doesn't give you the same benefit."
George said the cheapest power for any household would depend on their location, whether they were a low or standard user, and their consumption habits.
"Despite what some retailers claim, there is simply not one energy company that will be the cheapest in every case. When considering electricity prices, it's important to look past the headline discounts and sign-up incentives, and carefully assess the rates and any terms such as added fees."