NZ energy prices fall, websites thanked

NZ energy prices fall, websites thanked

Summary: If you ever needed proof that the internet puts power into the hands of the consumer, take a look at the latest electricity prices in New Zealand.

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If you ever needed proof that the internet puts power into the hands of the consumer, take a look at the latest electricity prices in New Zealand.

Energy prices have now fallen for two consecutive quarters, for the first time in almost 13 years. The main reason being touted for this is growing competition, fuelled by price comparison websites, such as the government's www.whatsmynumber.org.nz, which covers the electricity market.

The website 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.

Around a quarter of a million Kiwi householders switched providers in 2011. This amounted to a record one in four households, as switchers increased 12 per cent last year, which is up 74 percentage points since records began eight years ago.

Online providers like Powershop benefited most, thanks to campaigns to highlight the benefits of switching providers.

We have seen how price comparison websites like Trivago, Moneysupermarket.com and Gocompare have revolutionised the travel, insurance and finance sectors, especially overseas, but now we can see a clear example of the web bringing power to the people in one of the most basic of commodities in New Zealand.

While the consumers may seem the main beneficiary, we should also remember that online also provides businesses with a cheaper retail channel. It also adds transparency for the government, which is the dominant supplier in New Zealand and can be blamed for price increases.

It all confirms that no matter how markets operate and are regulated, by letting people make better, informed choices, which help bring prices down, the internet truly does bring power to the people. Of course, what it means for retailers struggling to adapt to change is another story.

Topics: E-Commerce, Emerging Tech, New Zealand

Darren Greenwood

About Darren Greenwood

Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.

Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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4 comments
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  • This is awesome!

    In light of the recent price hikes on energy in Australia, is there something like this for Australia?
    Bioxide
  • How was the link between the websites and the drop in prices confirmed? Last August we got the great news that residential energy consumption in NSW has dropped 2% each year for the past 4 years. The numbers are a lot more varied in NZ, but if that was taken to be a cue that residential energy consumption was going to start to drop in NZ (-0.8% 2009 - 2010, who knows what the providers saw last year), that might also mean a need to focus on attracting more customers to maintain demand, as well as extra cash to make price cuts because of reduced capital expenditure. Here we don't have the luxury of being able to switch providers quite so easily in a lot of areas, but it would make sense that if it was an option for us, they might need to start competing on price more under declining energy consumption? I honestly have no idea how the energy market works and how NZ numbers relate to Australia's, but energy seems like such a volatile sector right now that I am wary of anyone claiming to know what factors are driving changes like pricing.
    DamienJ
  • This seems ridiculous....TrustPower had a price increase in December 2011. Genesis Energy are due increase theirs on the 12th Feb 2012 and Contact Energy 17th Feb 2012

    So which retailer/s are decreasing their prices?

    This site is far easier to use: www.switchme.co.nz/residential
    marty123-9dc2c
  • Have a look at powershop.co.nz - we definitely save money overall, and have the abillity to purchase discounted power in advance and see what we're doing with the climate in real time.
    Powerpup