Electricity prices have risen 4.5 percent in the past year, Statistics NZ figures show. With prices continuing to rise, switching providers remains one option available to ease the pain in your wallet.

Powerswitch.org.nz is our free energy-comparison website. You can use the site to identify whether you're on the cheapest power plan and switch to another provider if you're not. If you have a power bill based on an actual reading, you can get a better idea of costs from the site.

You can also use the site to set up an email alert to tell you when switching supplier could reduce your power bill. The feature lets you set a “savings target” – the amount that would tempt you to switch to another company. When power prices change and your target is reached, you’ll get an email letting you know.

Price comparisons

Our comparison of the cheapest and most expensive power plans in the three main centres found potential savings of $200 a year for an Auckland family of four; a Wellington household on the most expensive plan could cut $540 off their bill by switching; the same household in Christchurch household could save as much as $625.

Actual savings will depend on your power usage and your provider. To check your options, visit powerswitch.org.nz.