Power companies have a bit of an easy time in New Zealand for one single reason: their customers aren’t aware of the alternative energy providers out there and have never bothered to compare.
Powershop has been doing plenty of advertising since they launched a couple of years back and that’s helped to alert New Zealanders of the various options they have for supplier’s of their electricity. In fact, it even helps you to regularly switch power companies depending on who has the best deal.
If you’re as lazy as I am, you probably haven’t bothered with Powershop because it just feels like it takes a lot of effort. I’m sure you could just hook up with Powershop and then choose one power company and stick with them, but that sorta feels like you’re missing out and why include a third party between you and the power company that you pay your money to?
That’s pretty much why I was quite impressed when I came across Switchme (and this is totally legit, I swear I have personally used Switchme and have ended up on a much better deal than I was on before, which is why I’m pretty happy to recommend them).
Switchme is a funky and entirely New Zealand owned online service that allows you to very quickly compare electricity providers and then, if you see that there’s a much better deal, you can use Switchme to easily change to the new provider.
It really is that simple – there are no hidden catches. Switchme don’t add any extra payment into the process and it’s all very transparent.
As a resident of Christchurch, I was on Meridian’s customer list for years simply because I wasn’t really aware of any other power companies (specifically any other companies that provided power to Christchurch residents – I thought it was a ‘one per region’ kinda deal). Even if there were other providers, I’d thought they’d all be the same price anyway. I came across Switchme and found out that I’d actually be saving around $20 a month by switching to Genesis Energy. On top of that, Genesis also provided a loyalty points service (Switchme lets you know about those as well as any other bonuses).
You also may not have noticed how much your power prices have been rising. The Switchme news section shows an article that reported in February that…
Mercury Energy customers in Northland are to be hit with another power price rise for the third year in a row, this time some households will be paying as much as 12.7 per cent more.
So you can see that even if you’re happy with your current current provider (ha! See what I did there? With the current thing?), it’s worth giving the process a go just to see what’s going on with the other power companies in your region.
I was lucky enough to meet with Switchme’s founder, Scott O’Donnell. He told me a bit about how the idea came about and how much some of their users have saved.
Switchme was launched about 3 years ago and growth in the early days was fairly steady. However, in the last 12 months the success of the site has really kicked off. Due to recent large marketing campaigns, consumers are becoming a lot more aware of the number of options available and loyalty to a particular electricity company is becoming a thing of the past, especially when power prices are continually going up.
In some areas of NZ, the potential saving between the cheapest and the most expensive power companies can be over $60 a month for a standard household. Switchme offers a one stop shop for comparing power companies prices, seeing the results instantly and switching over to a new retailer all in one place. We’ve helped almost 30,000 households change energy providers already and the numbers are growing. Our switching process is painless and only takes about 3 minutes.
Scott says that since launching with residential power company comparisons, they’ve also launched a section specifically to compare business power prices:
After having so much success with residential comparisons, it makes sense to offer the same free service to New Zealand business. This new business power price comparison will be available to all commercial customers nationwide in a couple of months. It has the potential to collectively save kiwi companies millions on their power bills.
It’s hard not to love the idea behind Switchme. Electricity is something that we can’t do without and so big corporate power companies are safe in the knowledge that most people accept their power bill is simply a necessary expenditure that they can do nothing about. Switchme exposes the reality that there are other options available and makes it incredible easy for you by displaying the various options and prices all in one place.
To show how it works and prove just how easy it is, I did this for myself while writing this blog post. All you need to do this yourself is a copy of your power bill.
After entering a few details from my bill and including my region, Switchme provided 10 alternative options which included amongst other things:
- Provider’s name
- Estimated monthly bill
- Prompt payment discount amount (e.g. 10%)
- Whether there was a rewards points scheme
- If the supplier provides bills by email
- If the supplier also provides gas
- If the supplier has an online account management service
All of this is displayed in a simple table. In fact, I’ll just paste the screenshot below. Note that this is correct at time of writing but may later vary depending on the power companies.
As you can see, I’m already on the cheapest provider as I’ve used Switchme before. Give it a go yourself and you may well find there are plenty of cheaper options available.
It’s not like you get what you pay for either. Genesis Energy don’t have the smartest website around but at the end of the day, the electricity we have in our house tastes exactly the same as that which was provided by Meridian (disclaimer: kids, don’t taste electricty. It’s bad for you). Plus the act of changing from one company to another was really bloody simply. See that button that says ‘Switch’ in the above screenshot? Click that, fill in some details. Job’s pretty much done.
Pretty smart I reckon. And you’d be crazy not to give it a go.
P.S. For all the people who have considered Powershop, you’ll even note that Powershop appears in the above list. Swtichme basically takes their best offer for your region on the day that you run the test and then displays their price.