What do consumers think about power?

We asked Talbot Mills to survey consumers to find out:

  1. How worried are you about the household costs?
  2. Over the past 12 months, has your household made changes to reduce electricity costs
  3. To what extent do you trust power providers to provide good value for money for their customers

We learned that:

  • From a list of nine ordinary household expenses, power bills rated fourth highest in their top concerns - consumers were more worried about food, vehicle running costs, and mortgage and rental payments, but electricity was close behind.
  • Around one out of two consumers were often only heating the room they were in, and around the same number were often putting on extra clothes to stay warm.
  • Over a third of consumers reduced the use of heaters and heat pumps and a quarter frequently turned off heaters altogether.
  • One in four consumers cut back on showers and other hot water use.
  • Three out of four say electricity retailers are failing to provide good value for money.

Listen and watch our Chair Deborah Hart talk about these issues. 

Read the full survey results

October 2022 - Talbot Mills survey

Literature review

At the end of 2021, we commissioned a literature review to look at recent research into the issues that small electricity consumers in New Zealand often face. This will show us:

  • what kind of research exists already
  • what sort of gaps there are in our knowledge
  • where we can begin to target our research in the future, to help fill some of these gaps.

We’re starting by looking at any research into the main issues the Electricity Price Review (EPR) identified in 2019. This includes:

  • affordability
  • complexity in the electricity sector and how this affects consumers
  • disparity
  • lack of communication from electricity companies to residential and small business consumers
  • small consumers' inability to make their voices heard by the sector
  • hardship
  • sustainability issues
  • other wider societal issues. For example, how do problems with poor insulation exacerbate other common issues?

Where relevant, we’ll also look at examples of similar research from overseas.

We'll use the literature review's findings to help inform the Council's work programme for the coming year.

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