INDEPENDENT NEWS

Avalanche of Customers Switch Electricity Retailer

Published: Thu 6 Jul 2000 07:18 PM
Avalanche of Customers Switch Electricity Retailer
New Zealand’s electricity retail competition regime has just become a world-beater, with more than 10% of New Zealand’s electricity consumers switching retailer since the introduction of electricity retail competition.
“The results for June show that consumers really are voting with their feet and that retailers are competing fervently for customers.” said Philip Bradley, Chief Executive of M-co, the company that runs the electricity market.
“Equivalent systems to ours overseas have resulted in only five per cent of the population choosing to change in the first year or so of operation,” said Mr Bradley. “New Zealand is now experiencing a customer churn of around 10.5% - which surpasses totals anywhere else in the world.
Almost 72,000 customers changed electricity retailer last month – a figure inflated by clearance of a backlog.
Electricity retailers who fail to switch customers within newly defined time-frames can now receive large fines under a new robust and enforceable disciplinary regime set up by MARIA, the electricity industry structure that governs customer switching and the retail electricity market.
Before the recent introduction of these new rules some customers experienced difficulties in changing their power company. MARIA has been working with the industry to solve these problems.
“Under its guiding principles MARIA has to facilitate competition and choice by end-users and be robust and enforceable,” said Richard Rowley, Chairman of the MARIA Governance Board. “It’s obvious, from having such a large number of customers recorded as switching companies, that the new rules are having a major effect on the actions of the industry,” he said.
There are around 1.7 million electricity consumers in New Zealand. 178,701 customers have chosen to switch retailer since April 1999. 71,762 customers were officially changed last month.
-ends-
For further information please contact
Philip Bradley, Chief Executive
Ph 04-473-5240 (bus), 025-916-186 (mobile)
or
Richard Rowley, MARIA Governance Board Chair
Ph: 09-357-6060 (bus) or 025-469-388 (mobile)

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