Powerswitch is a free and independent service that helps you work out which power company and pricing plan is the cheapest for you. Using our comprehensive database of electricity and gas prices, it is easy to compare plans and find the cheapest deal in your area.
Consumer NZ receives funding from the Electricity Authority to provide all New Zealand consumers with a free and independent electricity and gas price comparison service. The Electricity Authority is an independent Crown entity that regulates New Zealand’s electricity industry. Some additional funding is received from Electricity and Gas Retailers, The Gas Industry Company, and MBIE.
Powerswitch is designed to provide comparisons for domestic households. It is not for commercial use. It is not for businesses, clubs, lodges, schools, or any other non-residential electricity applications.
Powerswitch has been designed to provide a price comparison for a consumer’s primary domestic residence. If you are using Powerswitch to compare plans for your secondary residence – such as a holiday home - it is possible that some of the prices shown on the plans listed may not be available to you.
This is because the Low User pricing options shown on some pricing plans are only available for a primary residence and not secondary residences such as holiday homes.
Electricity retailers will advise consumers on their eligibility for tariffs as part of their on-boarding process.
Powerswitch has been designed primarily with a traditional stand-alone house in mind. However, if there is an electricity meter supplying a residential dwelling, Powerswitch can still provide users with a useful indication of plans that are likely to be cheapest for them.
If you have a power bill and can enter your ICP number and your electricity consumption data, Powerswitch will provide an accurate ranking of pricing plans available regardless of the type of dwelling you happen to live in.
Some residential dwellings do not have their own separate electricity meter. This is common arrangement for some apartment complexes, and retirement villages, where there is a single meter for the entire complex, rather than an individual meter for each residential unit. In such cases, there will be one retailer for the entire complex with electricity costs apportioned to residents by the landlord or management company. As individual residents are not able to select their own provider. Powerswitch will not work in these situations.
We advise consumers that before signing a rental agreement or buying an apartment, check you have a choice of power companies available to you. Check your tenancy or electricity supply agreement allows you to switch retailers. Otherwise, you could be locked into a contract and must pay whatever your building's electricity supplier (and any middle-man company) charges.
We take the information you provide about your electricity and gas use and information from your bill (if you provide it) and estimate how much energy you will use in a year.
Using this estimate, we compare the different pricing plans available to you and identify the cheapest. Results also include prompt and electronic payment discounts.
We may be unable to match your address to one specific ICP. Your ICP can be found on the Electricity Authority website. It should also appear at the top of your bill, or at the top of any email usage updates from your supplier.
If you believe changes are needed please contact your electricity retailer to get this updated.
For electricity we take the information you supply and work out which parts are for general power, hot water and heating. For gas the uses are cooking, hot water and heating.
We adjust these proportions for where you live, your type of hot water system and how you heat your home in winter. We also take into account the time of year covered in the information you give us - a bill for December is unlikely to include any power used for heating.
In working out the amount of power each household uses we make the following assumptions:
In calculating the cost of electricity we make the following assumptions:
We work closely with retailers to ensure we have a complete list of available plans on Powerswitch. If your plan is not listed please let us know.
However, all retailers from time to time make special offers to selected customers during marketing campaigns. Some companies also have a range of plans that are only available to existing customers who meet specific eligibility criteria. As these plans are not open to the general public, but only to customers to whom the company offers them, they are not represented on Powerswitch.
There are also some companies that are not listed on Powerswitch:
Reticulated natural gas is distributed in the North Island only. Almost all the gas in the South Island is bottled. The Powerswitch calculations only include reticulated gas.
Powerswitch can be used to compare prices for electricity and natural gas; calculations for bottled LPG are not available. But you can select bottled LPG as an answer to the heating question. This will exclude the LPG part and give you a representative electricity comparison.
All the information we need to know is on your bill:
If you are on a plan with more than one meter, you will need to enter the amount for each meter separately. In some cases, we will ask you about a meter that does not seem to appear on your power bill. You should put "0" in the box (this is because with some companies, if you have not used any power, they do not print the details on your bill).
If you wish you can add together the amounts from successive power bills and enter that information. Just ensure that you get the start date from the first bill, the finish date from the last bill, and that you do not have any bills missing in between.
The type of plan displayed in your results is normally determined by the plan you select as your current one (e.g., selecting a controlled plan means your results will also show controlled plans).
If you do not select a current plan, the plan type is based on your profile — specifically, whether you have selected electric hot water cylinder and/or a night store heater.
We then display the most common plan in your region for households that match the rest of your profile. Note the most common plan type varies from region to region.
Powerswitch comparisons include GST, Electricity Authority levies, daily charges, unit charges, plus prompt payment and dual-fuel discounts (it is important to note that some retailers provide their customers with rates exclusive of GST and levies).
There are discounts and fixed-term prices that are not publicly available so do not appear on Powerswitch.
Electricity providers are required to assist low-use customers by offering them a low fixed charge tariff option of no more than 30¢ per day (excluding GST but after any prompt payment discount is subtracted). Your provider should inform you at least annually of whether it may be beneficial for you to switch to a low fixed charge rate.
The low-user plan is generally the best option if you use less than 8000kWh per year, or 9000kWh per year if you live in parts of the lower south region (all areas south of and including Christchurch but excluding the West Coast).
The low-user plans have a lower fixed daily charge than the standard options and a higher variable charge for the electricity used. The amount of the variable rate varies depending on where you live and what type of meter you have. To qualify for a low-user plan, your home must be:
Powerswtich offer three options for switching your plan.
On average, it takes just 3 - 4 days to switch retailers. Your switch is not confirmed until you have entered into an agreement with your new supplier.
No. In most cases there is no interruption to power supply when people switch.
The only exception is if a change of meter is required. In this situation your new retailer may need to switch off the power for a few minutes when they install the meter. Discuss this with the retailer you are switching to, so that you know exactly what to expect.
It normally costs nothing to switch. However, check with both your existing and new retailer whether there are any associated costs. For example, with your existing retailer there may be fees for disconnection, breaking a fixed-term contract, or organising a special meter read. Ask your new retailer if it requires a bond.
In most cases, no. The new retailer will use the same network of power lines to deliver electricity to your house. But if you switch to a different type of plan, your meter may need to be modified. Or if you already have a smart meter installed, check to see if the new retailer can read your smart meter.
A spot price is the price retailers pay when they buy electricity from the wholesale market.
Spot prices change every half-hour and can vary quite dramatically depending on supply and demand. Typically, spot prices are higher during winter, and weekdays at breakfast and dinner time.
Some retailers now offer pricing plans based on spot prices. There are risks and benefits associated with this pricing model.
Most electricity retailers charge customers a flat rate. This means you pay the same rate for the electricity you use regardless of when you use it, and regardless of the spot price your retailer paid.
Residential customers can instead sign-up to a retailer that offers a spot price contract. This means what you pay for your electricity will vary depending on the spot prices.
Spot prices change every half-hour, so you would be charged a range of rates.
Buying power at the spot price has advantages. When spot prices are low, it may mean you pay substantially less for electricity than you would on a traditional retail contract where the price is the same all the time.
There are disadvantages also. If spot prices increase above the flat rates charged by retailers, you may pay substantially more than you would on a traditional retail contract.
Typically, retailers will add a premium to your prices, to cover the risks associated with managing changing spot prices. So, because you are accepting the risk yourself, you will not pay this premium.
If you are considering a spot price contract you should think about whether you can:
budget for electricity bills that vary month-to-month and will sometimes be higher than a traditional retail contract
use less power at times when the spot price is generally higher (for example, by switching to alternative heating fuels like wood or gas)
temporarily reduce your power usage in response to particularly high prices by either:
using less power (for example, by having shorter showers)
shifting some power usage from higher-priced to lower-priced periods (for example, using a dishwasher, washing machine or dryer at off-peak times)
It may also be useful for you to:
actively monitor your power usage (if you have a smart meter, retailers often provide online tools or mobile apps to help you do this)
actively monitor spot prices (ask your retailer if they can provide online tools or mobile apps to help you do this). The WITS (Wholesale Information Trading System) website allows you to monitor current and forecast electricity spot prices throughout the country.
If you choose to take up a spot price contract but find it does not work for you, or you want to return to a conventional contract when spot prices are high, you may find that other retailers wish to impose conditions on contracts (for example, a fixed term agreement) if you want to switch to them.
Depending on where you live in New Zealand, you should have between 10 and 25 retailers to choose from, each with their own pricing and service offers.
There are around 1.7 million households in New Zealand. The more households that shop around for electricity on a regular basis, the more pressure there is on electricity retailers to ensure their offer is competitive.
In all but one case, the rebate will in no way be affected if consumers make the decision to switch electricity retailers. Any savings made by the consumer will be over and above the annual rebate they are entitled to.
The exception is for Trustpower customers and who live in Tauranga City or Western Bay of Plenty District, who will lose their Tauranga Electricity Consumer Trust (TECT) rebate if they switch to a different retailer.
For more information on network rebates, visit ea.govt.nz.
That depends on where you move to, as many retailers only operate in certain regions. If you are moving, we recommend you check results for your new home to see if they are still the best option for you.
If you pay your power bill by direct debit and wish to switch retailers, you will need to cancel your direct debit by either calling, emailing or writing to the retailer you are leaving and your bank.
Note: this should be done after your final bill has been paid, unless you wish to pay your final bill by a different method. If you wish to pay by direct debit with your new retailer a new direct debit form will need to be completed.
Utilities Disputes (formerly known as The Office of the Electricity and Gas Complaints Commissioner) is a free service that deals with complaints from consumers about electricity and gas retailers and distributors. Before it will consider your complaint, you must complain to the company concerned first. If your complaint is still not resolved, you can ask Utilities Disputes to consider your complaint.
To make sure there is no confusion about the nature of your complaint, we suggest you write to the company and head up your letter "formal complaint". The company generally has 20 working days to try to resolve your complaint.
You can ask Utilities Disputes to consider your complaint if:
You and the company have not resolved the complaint within 20 working days, and the company has not written to you with good reasons why it will need more time.
You and the company have not resolved the complaint after 40 working days.
The Electricity Authority’s ‘What’s My Number’ campaign aimed to raise consumer awareness of the savings available by changing electricity providers. The What’s My Number online tool used Consumer NZ’s Powerswitch calculator to provide consumers with an estimate of their potential savings.
One of the recommendations of the 2018-2019 Electricity Price Review was that the Powerswitch and What’s My Number websites should be merged to create a new and improved website to enable consumers to make more informed decisions. Following the recommendation the Electricity Authority work collaboratively with Consumer NZ to merge the websites.
Yes. Merging What’s My Number with the Powerswitch has made checking, comparing and switching power companies even easier for people.
You can still check your number for free on our home page, and see how much you can save on power.
The prices charged vary significantly between retailers, with the average household able to save around $350 per year by switching to the cheapest retailer in the area.
Each retailer has its own terms of supply that they require their customers to agree to. A link to these can be found on the retailer page.
No, a retailer does not have to accept new customers. It is entirely up to the retailer. However, if a retailer has started the formal switching process to accept you as a customer they cannot withdraw the switch because they have changed their mind.
No, these payments are not included in our calculations so there may be additional benefits of being a Trustpower customer. Only Trustpower customers in Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District are beneficiaries of the Tauranga Electricity Consumer Trust (TECT). As a major shareholder in Trustpower, TECT receives dividends from Trustpower and distributes a proportion of those dividends back to customers.
Here you can find out more about the engagement between retailers and Consumer NZ on the Powerswitch website.
A smart meter is an electronic meter that can record more regular and accurate electricity consumption information and has two-way remote communication capability.
The rollout of smart meters is currently at no extra cost to consumers unless additional work is required, for example, if work is needed at your meter box or switchboard to make it safe.
For more information on smart meters see the Electricity Authority website.
In contracts with consumers, retailers almost always reserve the right to replace meters at their discretion. This means that refusing to allow the installation of a smart meter may be a breach of your electricity contract.
You may be able to switch to a retailer that is not using smart meters or has less restrictive contract terms.
Contact your retailer to check what its meter requirements are..