Survey shows 1/3 of Kiwis can’t afford to heat their homes adequately
A new consumer survey shows that many New Zealanders face a cold winter in their homes.
The nationwide Canstar Blue survey - of 2060 people examining consumer satisfaction with electricity providers - found that more than one third (36%) of respondents can’t afford to heat their home adequately in the winter, with Gen Ys and women finding it the toughest. Derek Bonnar, General Manager Canstar, says that 45% of younger people face a chilly winter. “Gen Ys top the results for being unable to heat their homes adequately. 41% of women also find home heating a challenge, compared to 29% of men. “With the concerns people are expressing about their power bills and home heating, plus the wider impacts poorly heated homes have on health*, there is obviously still a need for more promotion and education on the ability to switch electricity providers, and how to economically heat the home,” says Bonnar. Nearly three quarters of respondents had changed their behaviour to limit their electricity use. There are some valuable tools and guidelines to help people save on their home energy bills provided by government agencies and electricity companies. Top tips from EnergyWise include:
Switching off the second or beer fridge
Drying clothes outside rather than using a dryer
Only using heated towel rails when needed
Switching appliances off at the wall when not in use
Shutting curtains at dusk to keep the heat in
Wash clothes in cold rather than warm water. 17% of those surveyed have switched electricity providers in the past 12 months. The Electricity Authority’s figures show that switching power companies can generate average annual household saving of $175. The Electricity Authority’s Retail Advisory Group is currently calling for feedback on options to promote retail competition by increasing consumers’ propensity to compare and switch retailers. “Our results show Gen Ys are more likely to switch power companies (29%), compared to a relatively low 12% of Baby Boomers. “More than half of survey respondents (56%) have used an online tool to compare plans and providers, showing there is active interest in managing costs even if it doesn’t lead immediately to switching providers. “Pricing options such as SmoothPay and fixed term rate contracts help with evening out electricity costs and reducing bill shock, especially in winter months. Companies are extending their range of billing options, reflected in the 23% of those surveyed who have taken a fixed term contract in the past 12 months,” said Mr Bonnar. Fixed term contracts proved popular in Auckland, with 35% of Super City residents taking up the option in the past year, compared to 23% in Waikato and Otago, 19% in Wellington, and only 14% of Cantabrians.