The Consumer Care Guidelines are intended to support power companies to deliver a consistent and supportive standard of care to consumers. They were created by the Electricity Authority in conjunction with the electricity sector.
The Guidelines provide guidance on customer sign-up processes, what power companies should do when consumers are struggling to pay their bills, and importantly, how power companies ensure medically dependant customers are protected – plus more.
It is currently voluntary for power companies to implement the Guidelines. We have found they are not being applied consistently by power companies across Aotearoa.
We consulted on four options to strengthen and update the Guidelines to ensure New Zealanders receive a consistent level of care, regardless of which power company they choose. Thanks to all who provided input. We are carefully considering all feedback before we decide on next steps.
4 September - 2 October 2023Consultation —Improving the Consumer Care GuidelinesView consultation
September 2023Consultation —
1 June 2023Report —
1st review of retailers’ self-assessed alignment with the guidelines
9 May 2023Letter from Chief Executive —
Findings from 2022/23 review of retailers’ self-assessments
August 2022Review —
Alignment review of retailers' self-assessments started
31 December 2021Compliance —
Deadline for retailers to comply with the consumer care guidelines
1 July 2021Implementation —
Consumer care guidelines took effect
30 March 2021Decision —
Consumer care guidelines to replace guidelines on arrangements for assisting vulnerable consumers and medically dependent consumers
29 March 2021Letter from Chief Executive —
Referral of issues raised during the consumer care guidelines consultations and development process
23 February - 9 March 2021Consultation —Technical consultation: consumer care guidelinesView consultation
22 - 26 February 2021Event —
Technical consultation briefing webinar
29 October - 27 November 2020Consultation —Proposed consumer care guidelinesView consultation
22 October - 11 November 2020Event —
Workshops in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington
2 - 16 June 2020Consultation —Addendum to the guidelines for medically dependent and vulnerable consumersView consultation
In April 2020, following a recommendation from the Electricity Price Review and industry feedback, we reviewed our guidelines for retailers on arrangements to assist medically dependent and vulnerable consumers. There had been significant change in New Zealand’s electricity industry and the existing guidelines were no longer fit for purpose. Our review led to the replacement of the medically dependent consumer and vulnerable consumer guidelines with new Consumer Care Guidelines.
The intent of the Consumer Care Guidelines is to help retailers to:
- adopt behaviours and processes that foster positive relationships with domestic consumers
- help domestic consumers maximise their potential to access and afford a constant electricity supply suitable for their needs
- help domestic consumers minimise harm caused by insufficient access to electricity or by payment difficulties
- engage with medically dependent consumers - these customers must be identified and recorded as early as practicable and not disconnected for non-payment.