Contact Energy voted worst power firm in the country

Contact Energy has been rated as the worst performer in Consumer NZ’s latest electricity satisfaction survey.

Its website boasts making “electricity easy and efficient, with competitive rates, friendly local service and flexible payment options”, but with a satisfaction score of just 42%, their customers were less enthusiastic about the company’s performance.

Consumer NZ chief executive Jon Duffy said its annual survey found Contact also rated below average for competitive pricing, helping customers save energy and value for money.

“Contact’s rating was considerably lower than the industry average of 52%. It’s the worst score for the company in the past four years,” Duffy said.

Trustpower was the other big player to score below average for value for money (29%). It was also the lowest rated for competitive pricing (28%) and the lowest equal with value for money (29%). In Consumer NZ’s 2020 survey, it was the lowest-rated retailer with an overall satisfaction score of just 43 percent.

Top performers this year were Powershop (77%) and Electric Kiwi (70%). Customers rated these companies above average for competitive pricing, helping them save energy and being value for money.

Struggle to pay power bills

For one in four Kiwis, household power costs remain a major concern. Consumer NZ’s survey found 18% had trouble paying their monthly power bills in the past year.

“As the temperature drops, we’re seeing energy prices rising. Low hydro lake levels are driving up prices on the wholesale electricity market. In the year to March, wholesale prices for electricity generation spiked a sizable 29%,” Duffy said.

Consumer NZ encourages households to use its free Powerswitch website to compare plans and check if they can get a better deal.

“Our analysis found that households using Powerswitch last winter could save $388 on average by switching to the cheapest plan. With one in five consumers saying they’ve been on the receiving end of poor service, it doesn’t pay to be loyal.”

Powershop, Electric Kiwi and Flick Electric received Consumer NZ People’s Choice awards. These are awarded to providers that stand out for customer service and meet Consumer NZ’s other criteria.