Bay News column

Columns
Thursday, August 13, 2015

There was some great news out of the electricity sector regarding competition and power prices recently. We have long stated that competition in the marketplace is the best way to keep power prices down and ensure the best deal for consumers.

We now have the most competitive electricity market ever, with a record 27 brands currently operating across the country. Encouragingly, more people are switching to small and medium-sized retailers. This group increased their market share by 23 per cent last year, taking customers from the larger generator/retailer companies.

At the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards on Wednesday a number of people commented about how this competition has pushed the sector to innovate and deliver more value to hold onto their customers.

According to the latest Consumer Price Index there was a zero percent change in electricity prices – the lowest annual change since 2001. This is in part to the reforms we have undertaken to make the market more competitive and encourage new retailers to enter.

Data from the Electricity Authority shows that more than 385,000 consumers around New Zealand switched retailers last year, saving on average $162. In the Bay of Plenty alone, more than 24,000 households switched retailers. We now have 16 brands to choose from here.

I encourage everyone to shop around for the best deal. The Consumer NZ ‘Powerswitch’ website, www.powerswitch.org.nz/powerswitch, allows consumers to compare prices and switch retailers easily online.

The National-led Government is committed to promoting competitive measures in the market, as this is the best way to keep downward pressure on the price you and your family pay.