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Billing issues top of complaints about power companies

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Photo / ThinkStock
Photo / ThinkStock

Thousands of Kiwi households have complained about their electricity provider in the last year, with almost half of complaints being about billing issues.

More than 2000 complaints were filed at the Office of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner.

The office's 2013-14 annual report - released last week - shows that in the last year, more complaints (43 per cent) were about billing issues than anything else.

A total of 16.9 per cent of customers had issues with their energy company's customer service and 9.7 per cent of complaints were about disconnection. Chair of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner, Heather Roy, told an annual meeting last week: "The EGCC's strength depends on providing value to complainants and member companies and by its reputation for independent complaint resolution."

Energy and gas provider Powershop - which lets customers buy their electricity online - acknowledged that a lot of people became confused as so many electricity retailers were trying to out-do each other with deals.

Chief executive Ari Sargent said it was not surprising that billing was what most people complained about.

"There are more offers than ever in the market that carry multiple conditions. So it's become almost impossible to compare actual prices," he said.

"Complexity is no substitute for genuine savings. Many of these offers fail to deliver because households get caught out by the conditions."

Last year's EGCC report showed a total of 2045 complaints, with 46 per cent about billing issues.

- NZ Herald

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