Potential for $240 million annual savings on power bills

Monday 30 May 2011, 7:59AM
By Electricity Authority

The Electricity Authority today launched a nationwide programme to help householders and other consumers reduce their power bills by shopping around for the best prices on offer.

The `What’s My Number’ campaign is an initiative of the Authority working together with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Consumer NZ to help New Zealanders make more informed choices about their electricity suppliers.

The ‘What’s My Number’ campaign is based on a website which enables consumers to quickly find out how much they can save by switching to the best deal in their region and provides a gateway to making the change. The campaign is being run in conjunction with Consumer NZ’s Powerswitch website www.powerswitch.org.nz, a site where consumers can make the switch if they choose to do so.

The Authority’s research indicates that in the 2010 calendar year, the average household could have saved $150 by switching to the cheapest retail offer in their region. Nationwide, this equated to savings of $240 million, Authority Chief Executive, Carl Hansen, said.

The campaign was prompted by the fact that currently consumers’ inclination to change retailers was low – surveys showed only 5% of eligible New Zealanders are actively looking at switching electricity providers, but 50% said they would switch if approached with a better deal, Mr Hansen said.

“There is clearly considerable potential for New Zealanders to save money by taking control of their electricity bills and shopping around.

It only takes a few minutes to initiate the switching process, and according to our survey, 90% of people who switched in the last two years said they found the process was easy.

Developing a stronger shopping around culture for electricity should also enhance retail competition, creating even better deals for consumers and encouraging the development of new pricing plans and service offerings.

The ‘What’s My Number’ slogan referred to the number of dollars the consumer could save on her or his bill,” Mr Hansen said.

The Authority has built a website www.whatsmynumber.org.nz that enables people to quickly identify their estimated savings using a simple calculator. People wanting to access the estimated savings can then link to the Consumer NZ’s Powerswitch site www.powerswitch.org.nz to confirm a new retail deal and initiate the switch to a new retailer.

The two websites are complementary and closely linked. To get started all you need to do is use the simple Consumer Powerswitch calculator found at www.whatsmynumber.org.nz. From there, if you want to proceed, it’s a simple process, involving choosing and switching retailer through Powerswitch.

Sue Chetwin, CEO Consumer, says “The Consumer Powerswitch site provides the opportunity for everyone to check out the cheapest deals for electricity and gas supply. The latest Consumer Powerswitch survey of prices reveals some big savings to be made by switching. For example, a large household in Christchurch could potentially save $903pa and a medium sized household in Wellington could save $478pa. We say check it out now before the winter really hits and your heating bills go up.”

For more information visit www.whatsmynumber.org.nz.