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5 June 2024

Consumer NZ reveals the best and worst power companies

New Zealanders who stick with one of the big power providers are less satisfied with the service they receive, according to Consumer NZ.

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Our latest energy survey asked people to gauge their satisfaction with their current energy retailer. It found the overall satisfaction rating for the electricity retailers was just 53%, with the smaller retailers doing a better job of keeping their customers happy.

Consumer NZ Chief Executive Jon Duffy says this is a trend the advocacy organisation sees repeatedly in key industries in New Zealand, including banking, KiwiSaver and insurance.

“Generally speaking, the higher the market share, the lower the satisfaction rating,” says Duffy.

“We'd like to see customer satisfaction scores lift overall. And fortunately for New Zealanders, switching provider is as simple as the push of a button. If the savings alone aren’t enough of an incentive to switch, then poor customer service should be.”

Duffy reiterates that power is the same, no matter which provider you get it from, which is why cutting through the marketing spin, drilling down into satisfaction scores, and sharing that information with consumers is so important.

“If you know there’s a better power company out there, and you choose to take your business there, you’re sending a clear message to the industry about what is ‘good value’ to you.”

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The best power companies

Powershop and Frank Energy tied in first place this year, both scoring 67% for customer satisfaction.

“Powershop and Frank Energy have achieved our People’s Choice award. It's the seventh time in 10 years that Powershop has taken out the accolade – a commendable achievement.”

Frank Energy’s customers rate it highly for having competitive pricing, while Powershop customers rate it for its value for money.

Nova made a “big jump” in the results table this year, going from ninth place in 2023 to third place in 2024. It scored highest for customer support services, such as helping customers select appropriate plans.

The worst power companies

Near the bottom of the ratings table, Slingshot and 2degrees tied equal for ninth place. Slingshot received the lowest score for competitive pricing, while 2degrees scored below average on nearly all measures.

Duffy notes that Slingshot and 2degrees are probably more well known for their core business as telco providers, and warns consumers to carefully weigh up the perceived value of bundled plans, as they can cost households more in the long run.

“Bundling power, phone and broadband plans is appealing as it offers the ‘one-stop-shop' convenience of paying only one bill. However, bundled plans can cost households more financially. Our survey results highlight that bundling could cost you in the satisfaction stakes, too.”

Disappointingly, the two power providers at the bottom of the pack had the largest market share. Mercury took tenth place, and Contact came in last at eleventh.

Switching might make you more satisfied

Our survey also found switching rates have decreased slightly since 2023, with only 10% of people having switched providers in the past 12 months.

Duffy thinks many customers of big power companies, like Mercury and Contact, have probably been with their provider for a long time and might feel like power is a “grudge purchase” that they have little opportunity to influence, when that’s not the case.

“Challenger brands like Powershop and Frank Energy have the most satisfied customers because those customers have made a conscious decision to switch.

“A lot of people may grumble and feel like they don’t have any agency when it comes to power, but not actually do anything to change provider.

“We think sticking with the same provider for years can result in a general feeling of apathy. We’d like to see consumers take their power back by reviewing their provider and plan, and switching providers if a better option is out there.”

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Which power company has the happiest customers?

See the full ratings of all power companies in our nationally representative survey.

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