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Big power companies rate lowest

Big power companies received the lowest ratings for customer satisfaction in Consumer NZ’s latest annual survey.

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Consumer chief executive Sue Chetwin said 73 percent of those who participated in the survey rated their power companies’ performance as “good” or “very good”, the same proportion as in our 2014 survey.

However, customers of most of the big five electricity retailers were less likely than average to be satisfied with their company’s performance, she said.

Genesis Energy received the lowest performance score of 64 percent. Contact Energy rated 67 percent. “Both companies have consistently scored below average in Consumer’s satisfaction surveys since 2010,” Ms Chetwin said.

Of the other main players, Mercury Energy and Meridian Energy each scored 70 percent while Trustpower rated 75 percent.

Subsidiaries of these companies performed better.

Powershop, (a Consumer Trusted business) owned by Meridian, scored 94 percent. Energy Direct NZ, owned by Trustpower, rated 89 percent.

Newcomer Flick Electric rated highly: 96 percent of Flick Electric customers who participated in the survey rated the company’s performance as “good” or “very good”.

Ms Chetwin said overall satisfaction in the industry’s performance had dropped since 2012 when ratings reached 78 percent.

Survey results indicate the cost of power is continuing to influence customer satisfaction, she said.

When asked about home heating, 57 percent of respondents said they could heat their home comfortably but felt they paid too much. A third had cut back on heating because of the cost.

Just 48 percent thought their retailer delivered value for money.

The survey also found nearly two-thirds of respondents had been cold-called by a power company in the past 12 months inviting them to switch retailer. However, the majority of respondents who had changed retailer did so as a result their own research, for example by using Consumer’s free Powerswitch website or phoning retailers directly.

A total of 8389 Consumer NZ members participated in the survey. It was carried out in May 2015.

Results are available here and in the July issue of Consumer magazine.