There might be a huge number of electricity suppliers to choose from, but fewer New Zealanders are opting to switch providers for better prices.

But they are being urged to keep checking they're getting the best deal.

Electricity Authority figures show that six years on from a record high in June 2011, when 26,530 consumers switched to other companies that month, that figure has plummeted.

Data shows that in June this year there were 10,000 fewer switches since then. Just 16,701 consumers changed companies.


Peak 2011 numbers coincided with the Electricity Authority's "What's My Number" campaign, encouraging people to check and change their electricity suppliers for better deals.

Taryn Hamilton, general manager of Slingshot, a telco that recently entered the power market, put the figures down to people being apathetic about choosing power companies.

"A lot of [consumers] don't even know who their power company is," he says.

"There is low involvement from people. Their only engagement is a line on their credit card at times. I guess it's understandable- they just expect their lights to be switched on."

He said people weren't making the most of price savings, possibly because of how "complex" price points were.

"And many don't seem to care. There's also a really wide variation of prices and plans within each retailer, so just because you are with Genesis for example, it doesn't mean you have the same rates as your neighbour who's also a Genesis customer."

Slingshot made a "soft launch" into the market in March, offering power sales to their existing broadband customers, before officially launching nationwide in late June.

Electricity Authority numbers show Slingshot was the fastest growing company that month.


Hamilton acknowleged the numbers were because of Slingshot's low customer base to begin with. It now has several thousand power customers.

"It's a huge market and we're still tiny," he says.

Electricity Authority chief executive Carl Hansen said 2011 was an "outlier" year because of the campaign, and said it was more useful to compare figures to 2008 - and the number of supplier switches has doubled since then, he said.

"New Zealand has a highly competitive electricity market," he said.

"In the past 12 months the number of parent retail companies has jumped from 22 to 29. Five years ago there were only 12."

Most consumers who switched retailers were driven by price, he said.


"Consumers should regularly check they are getting the best deal for them."


January: 7184
February: 9963
March: 14186
April: 11397
May: 14939
June: 16701

Source: Electricity Authority


• Make sure you're on the right user plan
• Watch out for spot price retailers- they could be more expensive come winter
• Switching off your heated towel rail for most of the day could save you $120 a year
• Use an Ecomind, or to track your use and how much appliances use
• Be mindful of what appliances are on needlessly while you're out
• Switch appliances off at the wall
• Clean dusty heaters. Build ups prevent efficiency
• Get a cylinder wrap for your hot water cylinder to keep water hot longer
• Check seals on fridges, freezers and ovens to prevent costly leaks
• Limit hot showers. Hot water makes up more than 20 per cent of your bill

Source: Slingshot


Slingshot and the Herald on Sunday have teamed up to provide one lucky winner with a stunning prize to beat the winter blues: a free power and broadband package worth $4000.


The prize consists of 12 months' worth of free broadband and power, to a maximum monthly value of $79.95 for broadband services and $200 for power.

The exact Slingshot plan will depend on what broadband services are available at the winner's address. The winner is liable for any costs that exceed the free broadband and power figure.

The lucky winner must also give consent for their photograph to be used in Slingshot promotional material.

To be in to win, visit, put in your details and the key word "Slingshot". Entries close at 5pm, Wednesday, July 26.