Savvy swappers drive power prices down
Taranaki electricity users are the most likely to switch power retailers in the country, and their disloyalty could be driving prices down.
Nearly 12,000 residential electricity customers, a quarter of all users, switched providers in Taranaki last year, the highest level of switching in the country. This swapping saved Taranaki customers a combined $4 million, or an average of $86 per person.
The average savings are the lowest in the country, possibly because Taranaki electricity retailers are responding to the high level of swapping by cutting prices, said John Rampton of the government's Electricity Authority.
"It's a bit of speculation, but with higher levels of switching, there are people out there getting the best price, and retailers are being forced to sharpen their pencil and offer better deals and lower prices, so the savings are going to be less," he said.
By comparison 23.6 per cent of Auckland residential power users switched retailers last year, saving an average of $158. In the Tasman region, 12.3 per cent switched for an average saving of $125.
The highest average saving was in the Bay of Plenty where 22,000 customers changed retailers to save $288 each.
The Electricity Authority is encouraging Taranaki residents to check again this year by using the What's My Number online tool.
"It was great to see so many people exercising their choice to switch electricity suppliers in 2013, realising the cost savings and other benefits they can get from shopping around," said authority chief executive Carl Hansen.
"Winter is a good time to check again, since everyone tends to use more power over the colder months. Even if you've already switched, it's beneficial to keep checking your options regularly."
Nationwide, the Electricity Authority recorded more than 357,000 residential switches in 2013, compared with 324,000 in 2012.
Kiwi households nationally could have saved $266.7m or on average of $155 by switching power companies she said.
What's My Number is run by the Electricity Authority in partnership with Consumer NZ.
To find out the best deal for your power, visit www.whatsmynumber.org.nz.
Taranaki Daily News