28 Jul 2010

Electricity company switches to be faster

9:05 am on 28 July 2010

The amount of time it takes for customers to change retail power companies is to be reduced by the Government.

From October, retailers will be required to switch customers within 10 working days and half of all switches must happen within five working days.

Currently the rule allows for up to 23 working days.

A ministerial review last year found that residential customers could save about $100 per year by being able to switch to the cheapest available retailer.

Consumer New Zealand estimates potential savings are much higher, at $442 per year for a small household and more than $1000 for large households.

Companies don't face any penalty if they don't meet the deadline, but the Government is confident that public pressure will force them to be compliant.

Almost 28,000 customers switched power companies in the first six months of this year.

But if consumers are not happy about the time taken to do so, they don't appear to be complaining about it.

Electricity & Gas Complaints Commissioner Judi Jones says the number of complaints her office receives in relation to switching are negligible.