There’s nothing like a good lick of paint to freshen the place up a bit. That doesn’t just apply to your apartment though, even your multi-billion-dollar energy generation companies need the occasional makeover. Though, when they do it, you should always remember those new green walls are still a depressing shade of grey underneath.

Introducing… Frank Energy, your new ‘straight talking’, ‘simple’ and sweary energy retailer, promising no fluff, guff, or gimmicks.


But let’s be frank, Frank, you’re not Frank, you’re Genesis Energy – New Zealand’s biggest, publicly-listed electricity and gas company in disguise. To be more accurate, Frank is actually the rebirth of Energy Online – the brand Genesis bought way back when. We suppose the whole online theme finally ran its course… now it’s all about being ‘Frank’.


Genesis is getting quite good at this rebranding stuff, but they’ve had enough practice given the company is also behind Ecotricity… for those who didn’t know.

They’re not alone, of course. Here are the big energy companies pretending to be small retailers:

  • Frank Energy – is really Genesis
  • Ecotricity – is really Genesis
  • Powershop – is really Meridian, but in Australia they have let Shell take over the pretending now
  • GLOBUG – is really Mercury
  • Flick Electric – is really Z Energy

If you’re a big power company that genuinely creates a different product proposition with a new brand – a bit like Meridian did with Powershop – then that’s fair enough. But if you’re just pretending to be a funky little challenger just to offer cheaper rates to customers you don’t already have, that’s another story.

So why do they do it? It’s a pretty cynical ploy when you think about it. They know their brands are old and tired (which is true) or just not very consumer friendly. So they think creating or buying smaller, newer, fresh-looking brands, talking about keeping things simple and throwing a few asterisks around in swear words will change perceptions of them. In some cases, it probably works. And if you’re happy handing over your cash to them, then great – each to their own.

We just think you deserve to know who the money is going to.