21 May 2013

Consumers doubt competition keeping power costs in check

12:49 pm on 21 May 2013

The Electricity Authority says it will focus on the electricity retail market in the next two years after surveys showed less than a quarter of consumers believed competition has been keeping prices in line with costs.

The authority says a residential consumer survey shows nearly two thirds of those questioned rate competition in the electricity market as adequate or better than adequate, a figure 8% higher than in the 2011 survey.

However when asked whether competition has been keeping prices in line with costs facing electricity retailers only 22% agreed, a similar proportion to 2011.

A separate survey of major users also rated retail pricing poorly.

The Electricity Authority chief executive Carl Hansen says people's perceptions don't match what is actually happening in the market.

"There have been some significant improvements in the level of competition in the retail market and it's obviously going to take longer for that competition to show through and for consumers to feel that prices are being kept in line with costs."