Survey shows young people most mindful with energy use, while Aucklanders least prepared to go without

Young New Zealanders are more likely to put on a jersey and switch the heater off to reduce the cost of their power bills - but are the least likely to know where their power meters are, a survey shows.

The Canstar Blue electricity retailers' customer satisfaction survey showed those aged between 18 to 29 were the most likely to keep an eye on their power usage.

They also changed their electricity usage behaviour for environmental reasons more than others.

"It was an interesting finding in the survey that Gen Y seems to be more conscious of the impact on the environment, and with their electricity usage they're the most likely to change their habits," said Canstar general manager Derek Bonnar.

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"This trends down as we go up the age groups."

Budgeting expert Darryl Evans, chief executive of the Mangere Budgeting Services, said many young people he encountered knew little about budgeting.

However, others were much more conscious of how they spent their cash. Mr Evans said that may be because money was being spoken about more openly within schools, families and the wider community.

"It's being spoken about a lot more than what it was when I was young. We do a lot of work in schools, teaching kids to spend, save and donate. So when they grow up, they learn how to carefully use the money they earn."

The survey revealed Aucklanders were the least ready in terms of preparedness if their power was to go out for a long time, with 43 per cent saying they didn't have emergency supplies.

Cantabrians were the most prepared, with 71 per cent of those surveyed saying they had back-up supplies, ahead of those in Wellington (65 per cent).

Mr Bonnar said it was surprising a high number of New Zealanders weren't prepared, considering the adverse weather and natural disasters that have affected the country.

"More than a quarter of Cantabrians, who have had the most to contend with in recent years, are not prepared if the power was to go out for a long period of time," he said.

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The survey, which had a sample size of 1985, showed that switching between electricity retailers appeared to have flattened, with 16 per cent saying they had switched providers in the past 12 months - compared with 17 per cent last year.

Powershop topped the survey for overall satisfaction for the third year running. Nearly 30 per cent this year had thought about switching and not done anything about it, and fewer people had used an online tool to compare plans and providers.

It also showed less than half of those surveyed were considering installing solar panels over the next five years.

Canstar Blue commissions Research Now to regularly survey up to 2500 New Zealand consumers to measure satisfaction across a range of products and services.