Most pay too much for power in region

SAM CLARKE
Last updated 12:00 09/07/2014

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Manawatu residents are paying millions of dollars more for their power than they need to, Electricity Authority figures reveal.

Figures obtained from the Crown entity show Manawatu and Whanganui residents could have saved $9 million last year if every household switched to the cheapest available supplier.

The results show, on average, people in Manawatu and Whanganui who changed providers saved more than $90 a year, with some offered as much as $300 to switch.

However, last year only 23 per cent of households in the region changed suppliers.

Electricity Authority chief executive Carl Hansen said it was good to see some savings being made but he urged more people to check for cheaper options.

"Winter is a good time to check again since everyone tends to use more power over the colder months," he said.

"Even if you've already switched, it's beneficial to keep checking your options regularly."

The authority is urging people to use its "What's My Number" website to compare providers and find cheaper alternatives.

The online tool gives users an estimate of how much they could save based on their location and usage.

Consumer New Zealand's Powerswitch website also helps users change suppliers.

But What's My Number spokeswoman Judy Bailey said there were more benefits to switching than just financial ones.

"It's also about looking into different providers that offer different deals or incentives. Some might be a better fit for you because they offer reward points, while others may check your meter remotely."

Power for the Manawatu-Whanganui area is supplied by eight power companies, with Genesis Energy being the largest.

Nationally, Kiwis could save more than $260m a year or an average of $155 each if everyone switched to their cheapest available provider.

In 2013 more than 350,000 homes nationally changed their supplier.

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- Manawatu Standard

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