So great news, we have resolved our differences regarding fees with Powerswitch and we are back on the site. We were able to negotiate a fee that was suitable to both of us and that we considered fair.

We have always agreed with Consumer NZ that all of the costs of running this important service should be provided by the Energy Authority. In our view, asking an independent comparison service to ask retailers for fees, stops them from being a public service and turns them into a commercial operation. They have not yet achieved that funding goal, but we are hopeful that the Energy Authority has been listening, and will value the service that Powerswitch provides to fund it properly in the near future.

Great news, we have resolved our differences regarding fees with Powerswitch and we are back on the site.

There is still work to do on the Powerswitch site, especially when it comes to innovative time-of-use plans, and while we are encouraged by what they are saying, we will keep the pressure on to make sure that this service delivers transparent and useful insights to Kiwis on power prices.

Why care about load shifting?

A big point of contention is the way that Powerswitch shows time-of-use plans like MoveMaster.

Time-of-use (TOU) plans have different prices at different periods of the day. It may seem simpler to have flat rates, but wholesale power costs differ throughout the day, based on demand. TOU plans are designed to have more expensive pricing during peak busy times, such as 5-9pm, when everyone gets home from work and demand peaks, and cheaper prices at off-peak times, when fewer people are using the network.

Unfortunately, at the moment, TOU plans have savings significantly understated on Powerswitch compared to the average savings that customers on these plans actually see. They also ignore that the savings possible can be much larger than the average if customers take action to shift their power to cheaper times.

This mismatch provides a commercial barrier to this important evolution to power prices. ‘Peak prices’ are becoming ever more expensive over time and increasingly difficult to hedge (buy in advance). This is a big issue in the NZ market and it risks major increases in Kiwi’s power prices if it is not dealt with. The good news is that we are well placed as a nation to deal with it - we just need the industry to create smart solutions, and for consumers to understand their role (happily it does not take much).

TOU plans, like MoveMaster, that incentivise customers to shift load from these expensive times, are a great start. As well as saving customers money on their power bills, peak times are when we tend to use generation that causes worse outcomes for our climate. So if we can move more power off-peak, then we can simultaneously reduce power costs and create better outcomes for the environment. It's not often we get a climate win without some associated downside, so this is a real winner!

So what now?

TOU plans are becoming ever more important as we start to see more electrification, especially the rapid uptakes of EVs, so it is important that the industry helps to promote these plans.

Powerswitch are currently conducting research into this issue, and claim to have improvements on the way. There is a balance between conservatively telling people what they could save based on a median (e.g. less than the average), but also educating customers about what is possible if they make a few simple changes to their power use.

Kiwis with pools or spas can automate their load to be off-peak; we can all try to use the dishwasher, dryer or washing machine off-peak; and if you are an EV driver, it is very important that you charge your car off-peak as much as possible (this includes public chargers, who disturbingly give no price signals at all to the market on time of day). We have already conducted a trial automating hot water heating to off-peak hours, saving our customers money with no downsides to the availability of hot water quality, and we are looking to roll this out to a much wider group later this year.

We all need to do our bit, and we challenge Powerswitch to play their role in the energy transition, and to get this right for Kiwis.


Cheaper off-peak power and half price overnight (11pm-7am). Plus an epic solar buyback.

Moving power off-peak can reduce your impact on the environment, so it helps your wallet and the planet.