Electricity bills set to rise as power company profits double

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 02, 2022 |

Consumers are facing rising power costs at a time when some electricity retailers are enjoying ever-increasing profits.

Consumer NZ is warning New Zealanders that more price rises are on the way.

From November, customers of Genesis and Contact Energy will see their gas bills increase by an average of about 11%. Contact Energy’s electricity customers will see their bills increase by about 8% from November too. Genesis is planning to increase its electricity prices for residential customers in January 2023.

The combined profits of Genesis, Meridian and Mercury (to the end of June 2022) totalled $1.35 billion, which is more than double their combined profits from the previous year. These significant profits include gains from one-off sales and favourable forward electricity market movements. However, Consumer believes the level of profits suggest there is scope for these retailers to sharpen their pencils on price.

“Some of the larger retailers are continuing to make lofty profits and are increasing their power pricing to customers at a time when many New Zealanders are struggling financially,” said Gemma Rasmussen, Consumer head of communications and campaigns. 

“We know from Powerswitch data that some of the lowest prices are being offered by the smaller retailers. There’s room for larger retailers, especially the well-established players making large profits, to sharpen their pricing.”

Consumer’s latest Sentiment Tracker survey found New Zealanders have rapidly lost trust in the energy sector. 

“In June 2021 we began tracking consumer sentiment across all sectors,” Rasmussen said. “The energy sector has seen a marked decline in trust, with only the supermarkets, fuel industry and the Government faring worse.”

The watchdog’s annual power company satisfaction survey found the bigger players in the market continue to disappoint customers. Contact, Genesis, Trustpower and Mercury all failed to impress.

“We want to see retailers upping their game across the board – improve their pricing, and customer service too. If they manage that, perhaps consumers’ trust in the in the industry will improve.”

Analysis from Consumer has found that potential savings from switching electricity providers has gone up 24% in the past year, with the median saving now sitting at $385 a year.  

“We really encourage people to use Powerswitch to compare plans and check if they could get a better deal.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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