The Electricity Authority is promoting more choice for consumers and pushing for more retail competition in the electricity market by banning retailer-initiated win-backs for 180 days after a customer has switched to another retailer.

“Banning win-backs is good for consumers. It is an incentive to retailers to offer better prices and products to their customers upfront, rather than waiting until they decide to leave before offering them a better deal,” says James Stevenson-Wallace, Chief Executive at the Authority.

“The ban is a way to remove a barrier to competition in the electricity industry. Retailers – large and small, old and new – now have an equal opportunity to compete for customers.”

The change places no restrictions on consumers, they can initiate a change of retailer whenever they wish. They do not have to wait 180 days.

“Consumers should talk to their provider and use the Powerswitch website to start shopping around for the best deals. Consumers have access to better information and more deals with the freedom to choose a retailer that best suits their needs.”

“We consulted with stakeholders and industry groups and have taken the feedback we received into consideration when making our final decision. We want to thank the people who participated in our consultation and shared their views for us.”

The new rule comes into effect on 31 March. The Authority will regularly monitor the market for compliance and competitive effects such as pricing and acquisition costs and will review the impact within the next three years.

Consumers are well protected in New Zealand with processes that ensure continuity of electricity supply so shouldn’t be afraid to shop around for better deals. If consumers believe they are being misled by an electricity retailer, the Authority encourages them to look at the Fair Trading Act, which prohibits misleading and deceptive conduct, unsubstantiated claims, false representations and certain unfair practices.

The Authority is committed to designing and delivering rules for positive consumer outcomes. The saves and win-backs project is part of a wider programme of work the Authority has underway to promote a competitive, reliable and efficient electricity industry for the long-term benefit of consumers. In December the What’s My Number and Powerswitch websites were merged to make checking and switching even easier for consumers and the Authority is currently consulting on raising awareness of Utilities Disputes and Powerswitch services.

Read the decision paper 

For more information:

Sally Taylor-Phillips
Principal Communications Advisor
021 073 7777