The electricity market regulator wants retailers to proactively tell their customers whether or not they are on the best power plan.
The Electricity Authority is trying to encourage increased switching and comparing of power plans. It says this will lead to increased competition among retailers and lower power prices for consumers.
In December, less than two per cent of residential customers switched their power plans, and the vast majority of those were people moving house. At present, the regulator funds the website Powerswitch, which it contracts each year to Consumer NZ at a cost of about $1.4 million. Consumers often cite the complications of moving from a bundle plan as one barrier, while at the same time, a lack of their own consumption data being put into the Powerswitch website means they aren't confident the results actually will deliver lower prices.
The Electricity Authority has proposed retailers should alert consumers when they're not on the most suitable plan - a move recently seen in Australia. The authority's Chief Executive Sarah Gillies and Powerswitch manager Paul Fuge talk to Kathryn about what's needed to get consumers more regularly switching.