30 Jul 2015

Electricity top-up suppliers questioned

5:55 pm on 30 July 2015

A Thames mother says it is disgusting that people who need to top up their pre-pay power deals may have to do so in a liquor store.

GLOBUG, which is owned by Mighty River Power, is a pay-as-you-go power provider often used by low-income families.

Cherie Sweeney said she visited two dairies and a garage advertised on the GLOBUG website before being told to go to Black Bull Liquor.

She said she left her daughter outside because she did not believe an alcohol shop was any place for a child.

"I purchased $20 worth of power and he asked me if I would like anything else," she said.

"I'm guessing, being that it's a bottle store, 'did I want to take any booze home along with my power?'"

She was also annoyed she was charged an extra 70 cents that went to the liquor store for the transaction fee.

Ms Sweeney said she chose GLOBUG because she had received a voucher in a magazine from Housing NZ.

She said Housing NZ should have checked out its suppliers before endorsing it.

Location is up to customers, company says

GLOBUG said its customers could top up at 6000 different retailers nationwide - and 19 outlets in Thames, including two liquor stores.

It compared that to pre-pay phone top-ups and said it was up to customers where they topped up.

Mighty River Power general manager James Munro said GLOBUG sold its top-up cards at liquor stores for the convenience of its customers and it had no plans to remove them.

He said most of GLOBUG's customers topped up on their smartphones, and it was not for him to say where others choose to top up.

Radio New Zealand News called a number of the outlets advertised by GLOBUG and found only half of them sold the power top-ups.