It shouldn't be a privilege to have power

Everyone Connected

Join our call for better consumer protections

Electricity is essential for health and wellbeing. Most of us rely on it to stay warm, cook dinner and keep the lights on. But the Electricity Authority - who sets the rules for retailers - is not doing enough to protect kiwis who are struggling to pay their bills.

Ban disconnection fees

Can’t pay your power bill? A company is allowed to disconnect your electricity, then charge a fee for the disconnection and reconnection.

These fees can be over $200 and they push people further into debt.

“These fees kick people when they’re down. Why do we allow that?” - Financial Mentor

We are currently collecting data on what companies are actually charging users for disconnections and reconnections due to non-payment. We will publish these findings in June.

End the 'penalty for pre-pay'

Across Aotearoa, roughly 30,000 households use prepay electricity, many because they have struggled to pay bills on standard plans and now have no option.

Yet prepay is more expensive, forcing people to spend days without electricity because they can’t afford to top up. Data on these disconnections is not even recorded.

“It’s like the higher prices are punishing people for struggling” - Consumer Advocate

The Electricity Authority has announced it will collect data on prepay disconnections and prepay prices from 1 January 2025. We’re asking them to go further, by requiring that companies never charge their prepay customers higher prices than those paying by other means.

Make consumer care mandatory for retailers

Minimum standards of care should be a bottom line to protect consumers. Currently, companies are able to ignore the Consumer Care Guidelines without any penalty. The Guidelines are voluntary, despite covering matters such as care for people medically dependent on electricity or households facing disconnection.

The Electricity Authority has announced it will make these guidelines into mandatory rules, coming into effect 1 January 2025. We are calling on the Electricity Authority to ensure the new rules are strongly worded and properly enforced.

Join our call

We are asking the Electricity Authority to:

  1. Ban disconnection/reconnection fees that harm the most vulnerable

  2. Protect prepay customers by reining in unfair prices and tracking disconnections

  3. Protect everyone by making the Consumer Care Guidelines mandatory.