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.

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS -

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.

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