Kiwis who don't shop around paying more for electricity - report

Information released today shows the problems that have contributed to pushing up electricity prices in New Zealand, which includes the disparity between customers who shop around and those who stick with the same company. 

A review had released a document finding issues "that need to be addressed", said Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods.

"New Zealanders deserve affordable electricity but too many households are struggling to pay their bills."

Residential electricity prices were 79 per cent higher than they were in 1990.

"Over the same timeframe commercial prices have declined by 24 per cent and industrial prices have increased by 18 per cent," Ms Woods said. 

She said a two-tier retail market was developing, with one containing "people who actively shop around enjoy the benefits of competition, and those who don't are stuck with higher prices".

"Some households struggle to understand the various plans and how to choose the one that's best for them, and low-income consumers miss out more often on prompt-payment discounts, which can be as high as 26 per cent of the bill."

Ms Woods said major challenges for the electricity sector could be changing technology. 

"Our electricity market needs to be agile enough to adapt to the challenges that technologies like EVs, solar panels and other forms of distributed generation will pose to affordability.

"It’s clear that if we don't manage these changes well the costs will fall on those least able to afford them."

The review would move into its second stage and develop recommendations on how to address the issues.

For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6. 

An investigation has found more than 100,000 households are in energy hardship, spending more than 10 per cent of their income on their power bills. Source: 1 NEWS