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Consumers benefit from increased electricity competition

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Electricity prices have dropped two quarters in a row for the first time in almost 13 years according to Statistics New Zealand's Consumers Price Index (CPI).

The CPI revealed that electricity prices have dropped by 0.5% in the December 2011 quarter, following a 0.3% decrease in the previous quarter.

The drop in prices has been attributed to changes in the industry including increased competition and more consumers switching - all contributing to help lower household expenditure and keep inflation and interest rates down.

These changes have gained momentum in the past year with the introduction of the Electricity Authority's What's My Number campaign.

The campaign, conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Consumer NZ, aims to help New Zealanders make more informed choices about their electricity suppliers by visiting the website The website enables people to quickly identify their estimated savings using a simple calculator. People wanting to access the estimated savings can then link to the Consumer NZ's Powerswitch site to confirm a new retail deal and initiate the switch to a new retailer.

"Since the What's My Number campaign started, switching numbers have been consistently higher than the same time in previous years," says Sue Chetwin, Consumer NZ Chief Executive.

"Over the past decade, New Zealanders have seen a consistent rise in household bills, with their energy bills being a large part of this rise, and they have felt a sense of helplessness.

"The What's My Number campaign together with provides people with the tools to compare energy retailer pricing, and the ability to regain some control over what they pay by being able to easily find and switch to a different provider."

From the start of the campaign in June 2011 to December 2011 more than 244,000 New Zealanders have switched electricity providers.

"Checking your number and switching electricity providers is a simple process," says Electricity Authority Chief Executive, Carl Hansen.

"It only takes a few minutes on the website, which can be done at anytime. If you decide to make the switch it can be completed within 4-5 days without any hassle or interruption to your power supply."

"If people need access to a computer they can visit their local Citizen's Advice Bureau where the staff are trained to help guide people through the What's My Number site."

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