Disconnection, debt and consumer care data
The Electricity Authority Te Mana Hiko has released a range of retail data on disconnection, debt, and consumer care practices. We collect this data via the Retailer Financial Stress notice (RFS notice) introduced in August 2022, enabling us to monitor financial stress faced by consumers and retailers.
We now provide RFS notice summary data via a suite of reports on our Electricity Market Information website. These reports provide insights into the data collected under the RFS notice.
The Retailer Financial Stress notice
The Electricity Authority currently collects retail market monitoring data under the clause 2.16 Retailer Financial Stress notice. Under the RFS notice, we collect monthly information from retailers with more than 1,000 ICPs on the:
- number of customer enquiries received about payment flexibility or payment deferral
- number of customer accounts billed each month flagged as being medically dependent or vulnerable
- number of customer accounts, and total debt from customer accounts, where invoice payment is more than 30 days overdue and the ICP supplied has not been scheduled for disconnection
- total debt from customer accounts where ICP disconnection is scheduled and has not yet been actioned
- total debt from customers disconnected for non-payment
- number of customers on a deferred payment plan with increased credit terms, or with a revised payment due date (but not in arrears) as at the reporting date
- total customer debt written off during the reporting period
- number of customer accounts that have been sent disconnection warning notices
- number of ICPs disconnected for non-payment for a period more than 24 hours.
There are known limitations to the Retailer Financial Stress notice data
The data in this report represents high-level data aggregated across retailer responses to the information listed above. However, there are limitations to the data:
- Disconnection figures are only for post-pay customers who have been disconnected for non-payment for more than 24 hours. The data does not provide a full picture of disconnections, either for disconnections for non-payment less than 24 hours or where pre-pay customers running out of credit.
- Retailers may have varying interpretations of terms outlined in the RFS notice such as what constitutes a “vulnerable” customer or around business processes such as “disconnection warning notices”.
- Total customer debt may include data that relates to customer debt for bundling services. This means that the data represented under this question does not refer specifically to debt connected to electricity services only.
While these limitations exist, we have received wide feedback from stakeholders that this data should be published. The more information tab on the EMI report provides further information.
We will continue to update this data regularly. Retailers must provide the RFS notice data by the 10th business day of the following month and the reports will be updated on or around this date.
Improvements to retail market monitoring are currently open for consultation
In December 2023, the Electricity Authority published the Improving retail market monitoring: clause 2.16 information notice consultation paper.
The consultation paper outlines several issues with the current mechanisms we use to collect retail data and proposes a new notice. This new notice would replace the current RFS Notice to resolve the issues present under current settings.
We have extended the submission deadline on this consultation paper to Thursday 29 February 2024.
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