Kiwis unsatisfied with big power companies - survey

  • 07/07/2017
Satisfaction with electricity retailers is lower than banks, the survey found. Photo credit: Dan Satherley/Newshub.

An annual Consumer NZ survey on power companies has found just 45 percent of customers were satisfied with the service they receive.

The five big powercos - Contact, Genesis, Mercury, Meridian and TrustPower - still hold the lion's share of customers, according to the survey, but continue to be "perennial laggards" when it comes to customer service, Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says..

"This satisfaction rating is lower than rates we've found in the banking and general insurance industries," she said.

"The big players are letting the side down."

Ms Chetwin singled out Bosco Connect, a subsidiary of Mercury Energy, as a particularly poor performer, with a customer satisfaction rate of 28 percent.

Bosco Connect often serves as the default provider in apartments and has 25,000 customers in Auckland and Wellington.

"Thirty percent of customers with Bosco had regularly experienced long wait times to speak to a customer service rep," Ms Chetwin said.

At the other end of the survey, 71 percent of Flick Electric's customers said they were very satisfied with the company's service.

"They were also more likely to think they were getting good value for money," Ms Chetwin said.

Powershop, Pulse Energy, Energy Online and Nova round out the top five energy suppliers.

Other statistics of interest to come from the survey included that 30 percent of customers deliberately cut back on heating in winter, blaming power prices; 18 percent had had problems with incorrect bills; 38 percent had encountered long wait times on the phone to talk to a customer service rep; and 21 percent said they received unhelpful service once they got through.