Update on 09 Mar 2016: You’re now able to request your power consumption data from retailers. See our list of contact details for energy providers below. The Electricity Authority also provides information about the procedures for these requests.
Want to know how much power your household is using each year? Electricity retailers will soon have to tell you.
An amendment to the Electricity Industry Participation Code (EIPC), which comes into effect on 1 February, means electricity retailers are now required to provide, upon request, the power consumption data used to calculate your bills over the past 24 months.
You can request your data by phoning or writing to your power retailer. It must provide you with the information for free and within five business days. You can make a request up to four times a year. You can also authorise an agent to request the information on your behalf, much in the same way you can nominate an agent to process your tax return.
If you’ve got a smart meter, and chances are you do as they now outnumber the old meters, this means you can request the half-hourly power consumption data the meter sends to your retailer.
A related EIPC amendment requires retailers to provide information about their generally available pricing plans to anyone who requests it. These amendments are intended to open the door to more price comparison sites that would compete with Consumer NZ’s Powerswitch. But whether consumers benefit from this remains to be seen.
A proliferation of price comparison sites, some of which may charge a commission or give preference to certain retailers, could leave consumers worse off. Consumers would need to navigate a range of websites with limited assurances the advice is unbiased, which potentially increases barriers to switching.
In our view, the best option for consumers is having access to a free and impartial comparison site where they can easily compare power plans. Requiring electricity retailers to publish pricing plans on their websites, not just provide the information to those who request it, would also improve transparency.