20jun consumer nz survey reveals best hero
17 June 2020

Consumer NZ survey reveals best and worst power companies

Trustpower rated as the worst performer in Consumer NZ’s latest survey of satisfaction with power companies.

Trustpower rated as the worst performer in Consumer NZ’s latest survey of satisfaction with power companies.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said its annual survey found just 43% of Trustpower customers were happy with the service they were getting.

“Trustpower’s rating was significantly lower than the industry average of 52%. It’s the worst score any of the big five power companies have earned in our past three surveys,” Mr Duffy said.

Contact Energy also scored below average with a satisfaction rating of only 45%.

The top three places went to smaller brands. Flick Electric got the highest rating with a satisfaction score of 76%. Nova Energy (74%) and Electric Kiwi (71%) were next. Flick Electric and Electric Kiwi are recipients of Consumer NZ’s People’s Choice award.*

Consumer NZ’s survey found the cost of electricity remained a major cause of complaint for consumers.

“For one in three, household power costs were a big worry. Over the past year, 17% said they had trouble paying their power bills,” Mr Duffy said.

That figure jumped to 45% among customers of prepay retailer Globug. About half of Globug customers had borrowed from family or friends, or needed assistance from Work and Income to help pay their power bills.

Across all consumers, 12% had overdue fees added to their bill because they couldn’t pay on time.

Mr Duffy said late-payment fees were often disguised as “prompt-payment discounts”. These discounts acted as a penalty for consumers who missed paying by the due date.

“Trustpower has a 15% penalty if you miss paying by the due date. That’s more than you could be charged by payday lenders, which have interest and fees capped at 0.8% a day,” he said.

Four of the five major retailers were still using prompt-payment discounts. Only Meridian Energy has removed them entirely.

The Electricity Price Review, which reported to the government in May 2019, recommended prompt-payment discounts be banned and retailers allowed to only charge reasonable late-payment fees.

*The People’s Choice award is given to retailers that rate above average and meet Consumer NZ’s other performance criteria.

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Paul S.
23 Feb 2022
Trustpower not allowed to provide tariffs including GST

I called Trustpower yesterday and was told by the agent that they weren't allowed to give tariff prices including GST. He told me that it was an industry wide practise, but I had previously contacted, Meridian, Ecotricity and Genesis who had all been able to provide prices including GST. His reason given was that the Trustpower billing system wasn't able to provide tariffs inc GST, and he would have to manually calculate them for me, and could potentially provide me with incorrect tariff details.

Charles C.
09 Mar 2021
Being told of power outages

The power was off at my house from 8.55am to 5.30pm today, Unison was doing replacement of line and poles . only trouble was that Contact Energy did not tell me about the outage, talking to other neighbor's that they had been told by their supplier about the outage. when I rang Contact they said they had not been told but the Unison people told me that all the Suppliers were told .
Don't trust Contact Energy