Starting July, power providers in New Zealand will be discouraged by the Electricity Authority from charging some customers more than others for the same service, under the new Consumer Care Guidelines. The new guidelines released by the Electricity Authority encourage retailers to improve their services to all domestic consumers.
According to the Electricity Authority (EA), the newly published consumer care guidelines will replace/update the following:
The proposed consumer care guidelines will replace the current guidelines to push retailers to assist medically dependent and vulnerable consumers.
Under these new guidelines, retailers are expected to be more transparent with their customers and coordinate with them, so they get access to affordable electricity based on their needs and budget. Retailers are also required to give details on the support available if they experience financial problems and payment difficulties.
In cooperation with electricity retailers, distributors, consumer representative groups, scholars working on energy poverty, government, and support agencies, Electricity Authority gathered as much input as possible to improve electricity consumers' current guidelines.
Some of the requirements and provisions included in the consumer care guidelines are the following:
You can access and read the complete consumer care guidelines on the EA website.
While retailers are doing a good job at giving services to their customers and complying with their responsibilities, EA recognises that there's always room for improvement. They have been working together for years to give the best to the consumers. The existing retailer guidelines to assist medically dependent and vulnerable consumers have served consumers well.
Still, with so many changes in the electricity industry and consumer needs, the policies have to adapt and adjust eventually. The alignment with the consumer care guidelines is voluntary, but the Electricity Authority expects that all retailers will comply and work on their current processes to meet the new guidelines.
The guidelines shall take effect on July 01, 2021, and retailers are expected to comply with them fully by December 31, 2021.
While this new consumer care guideline is good news for electricity consumers as it will help them make better decisions when getting a power plan or switching to a new one, there are also other options and tools that you can use to make sure you're getting the best power deals for your household. One of these is comparison websites for utilities. What's great about these comparison websites is that aside from helping you find the power deal that suits your budget and needs or power plans that you aren't aware of, they also provide assistance to make the process easier for you.
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