Pre-paid power parity needed

The Green Party is calling on all power companies to follow Contact’s lead and equalise pre-paid power prices with post-paid prices.

“All power companies should follow Contact’s lead and drop their pre-paid rates to be in line with post-paid prices,” Green Party energy spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

“It’s good to see power companies like Contact and Mighty River Power responding to repeated calls from the Green Party to treat pre-paid and post-paid customers fairly.

“We know that some of our most vulnerable families are pushed onto pre-paid power plans and nearly 60 percent of these have had their power cut off – Contact’s announcement today is good news for these families.

“We’re calling for the development of a code of conduct for the pre-paid power market so that all power companies raise their standards to best-practice levels.

“In places like Auckland, Dunedin, and Northland, pre-paid power has been 20-25 percent more expensive than monthly post-paid power.

“By definition, pre-paid customers always pay their bills on time, and so it’s unreasonable that they miss out on post-paid benefits like prompt payment discounts.

“While Contact’s decision is a positive step for its pre-paid customers, in many regions with only one or two pre-paid retailers there is still not enough competition in the pre-paid market.

“An industry code of conduct would address issues around where and how customers can top up their accounts, and what happens when the power is cut off,” said Mr Hughes.

Read Gareth's blog about this issue and watch him question the Energy Minister in Parliament here.