Power prices are too high

  • Aotearoa’s power prices keep getting higher, and quickly - residential prices have risen 48% since 2000, faster than those in most other OECD countries, and faster than inflation. Read more

  • 2021’s power prices on the wholesale market have skyrocketed - they're the highest monthly average spot prices in over 10 years. Read more

  • This year’s wholesale power price has averaged $190/megawatt hour compared to an average of $90/megawatt hour over the last 12 years. Read more

  • It’s been tough on Kiwi households, with 14% of respondents to Consumer NZ’s annual energy survey having to borrow from family or friends to pay their power bill, and 7% having had to take out a loan. Read more

 

Squeezing out consumer choice

  • NZ’s five biggest generator-retailers (AKA gentailers, with both a generation and a retail arm) dominate the retail market, with 84% market share at the end of July 2021. Read more

  • The high cost of power has big impacts for independent retailers, forcing some out of business, others to stop advertising on sites like Powerswitch, and some to temporarily stop taking on new customers altogether. Read more

  • The five retailers who’ve pulled out of Powerswitch make up just 10 per cent of the market, but are popular, accounting for 70 per cent of switches. Read more

  • Consumer New Zealand says people could save hundreds by switching power companies/ but removing the independent competition means less opportunity for customers to switch and save. Some smaller power companies have already come off price comparison websites, or aren’t taking on new customers, limiting customer options and strengthening market power of the big power companies. Read more

 

Energy hardship on the rise

  • The Government’s Electricity Price Review shows that more than 100,000 households are living in energy hardship, where they must spend more than 10% of their income on electricity. Read more

  • Energy hardship is closely related to overall poverty, and these households take great care to reduce their power use, while often living in smaller, older homes. 20% of families have gone without power or heating because they couldn’t afford it. Read more

  • Unfortunately hardship and unhealthy homes are also related to many health issues, particularly for children and the elderly, including preventable diseases such as pneumonia, hypothermia, and respiratory conditions. Read more

  • Each winter in Aotearoa it’s thought that an extra 1600 deaths can be partly attributed to cold, damp and poorly maintained homes. Read more

 

Our climate goals are at risk

  • The Climate Change Commission has projected electricity demand to grow between 18.8% and 31.4% from 2018 levels by 2035, depending mostly on whether the Tiwai smelter goes or stays. That expected demand is down to things like more electric vehicles, and business processes changing from fossil fuels to electric. See 'Electricity market modelling' section here

  • Our climate goals rely on businesses moving away from fossil fuels and onto renewable energy. Kiwi businesses using process heat are responsible for around a third of NZ’s overall energy use, and 60% of that heat is generated from fossil fuels (mainly gas and coal). Read more

  • The high cost of power means many businesses can’t afford to convert to electricity, while others are closing their doors. Learn more | Read article

  • Some companies, like Foodstuffs, have had their power costs increase by 70%. Unfortunately, it’s likely these costs will eventually trickle down to the wallets of consumers, who’ll have to pay more for products and services. Read more

 

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