Powershop

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Powershop NZ
Powershop.png
Type of business Subsidiary
Founded 2007
Headquarters Wellington, New Zealand
Area served In New Zealand: Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Wairarapa, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Invercargill
Founder(s) Ari Sargent
Key people Mark Soper, GM
Industry Electricity retailing
Products Electricity
Employees Over 200
Parent Meridian Energy Limited
Website powershop.co.nz
Powershop Australia
Powershop Australia logo.jpg
Founded 2012
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Area served In Australia: Victoria, New South Wales, and South East Queensland
Key people Ed McManus, CEO
Industry Electricity retailing
Products Electricity
Employees 50
Parent Meridian Energy Limited
Website powershop.com.au
Powershop UK
Powershop Australia logo.jpg
Founded 2016
Headquarters Birmingham, United Kingdom
Area served In the United Kingdom: England, Wales and Southern Scotland
Key people David Winter, Head of Powershop UK
Industry Energy retailing (Electricity, Gas)
Products Electricity, Gas
Employees 10–50
Parent NPower
Website powershop.co.uk

Powershop is an online electricity retailer, founded in New Zealand and also available in Australia and the United Kingdom. Powershop is a subsidiary of Meridian Energy which is 51% owned by the New Zealand government. Users can either let the system automatically buy power for them, or log in regularly to take advantage of specials.

Powershop was found to be the cheapest electricity retailer for the typical consumer in the main centres by the Ministry of Economic Development in a 2009 survey.[1][2] It was the best company in Consumers' Institute of New Zealand's 2011 survey of electricity companies. 96% of Powershop customers found it 'good' or 'very good'.[3] Powershop was rated 96% again in 2012.[4]

History[edit]

Meridian traditionally had been a major electricity generator, but only a small retailer.[5] In 2006, Ari Sargent, an electricity industry veteran, had an idea to increase Meridian's market share in the retail market: turn electricity from a utility into a consumer good.[6] Initially, it was planned to sell electricity tokens in supermarkets, but that idea was scrapped due to cost and they turned the idea to the Internet.

Sargent, with Simon Coley, a design specialist, founded Powershop in September 2007. In September 2008, Powershop bought its predecessor, Meridian Energy's Marketplace Innovations Business Unit, for NZ$1.26 million in stock.[7] After 14 months of private beta, it officially launched to the public on 22 February 2009 and was unofficially available in the weeks prior.[8]

Using Powershop[edit]

Once a user signs up to Powershop, there is no need for them to visit the Powershop website any more. Powershop will buy electricity for them automatically. However, users that do visit the Powershop website can take advantage of the discounted "Powerpacks" and "Specials" that are on offer from time to time.

Graphs and charts of power usage are provided to the customer. 'Smart' meters are read daily, and provide usage figures each half-hour. Powershop will read a standard electricity meter once every two months, but users are encouraged to read the meter themselves more often to understand their power usage more.

All power buying must be performed via their website and mobile app and payment made by credit card, direct debit or online banking. Phone, Skype, and Twitter support are available.[9][10] Customers can also credit their account at PostShops.

Products[edit]

There are three main types of products:

  • Top Up – can be used immediately, sold in dollar amounts with no discount.
  • Future Packs – discounted electricity for use in a later month.
  • Specials – discounted power sold in varying dollar amounts. Limited quantity available.

In contrast with fixed year-round price or split winter/summer prices charged by regular New Zealand power retailers, electricity prices on Powershop vary month-to-month with seasonal variations, meaning customers generally pay less per kilowatt hour during spring and summer and more during autumn and winter.

Metering[edit]

All customers with a normal non-prepay electricity meter and an internet connection can join Powershop, no special equipment is needed.[11] For maximum effectiveness, customers without a smart meter have to read their power meter often and enter the readings into the website. Powershop will automatically get readings from customers with smart meters.

Reception[edit]

Powershop planned on 4–50,000 customers in its first year.[12] Powershop achieved 5000 customers in October 2009,[13] and 10000 customers in February 2010.[14] CEO Ari Sargent blamed this on inertia and general distrust of power companies.[15] Energy expert Molly Melhuish claims that because "people are so terrified of their power bills", "a majority of people" wouldn't want to try a new concept like Powershop.[16] The Consumers' Institute of New Zealand welcomes initiatives to increase retail power competition.[17]

In a 2009 survey by the Ministry of Economic Development, Powershop was found to be the cheapest electricity retailer for the typical consumer (one who consumes 8000kWh/year) in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Manawatu and New Plymouth. It was the second cheapest in Wanganui and Wairarapa.[2][18]

In Consumers' Institute of New Zealand's 2009 survey of electricity companies, Powershop gained the highest rating ever in the history of the survey. 92% of Powershop customers found it 'good' or 'very good'. It did not receive a single poor rating from any of its customers.[3] In 2010, it again received a 92% satisfaction rating. In 2011 and again in 2012, it gained a 96% customer satisfaction rating.[19]

In Australia, Powershop is ranked 1st of 15 companies for customer service tracked by social media tracking website, servicerage.com.[20]

References[edit]

External links[edit]