By Mike Blake
Across the country, thousands of existing and new members have signed up and switched supply companies to take advantage of the Grey Power Electricity scheme.
This offers Grey Power members cheaper power and a retail price that is capped to the year 2018.
Recently elected president Terry King said: “It has been an electrifying start to the scheme.
“Grey Power Electricity launched last September in partnership with small supplier Pulse Energy, and has grown quickly to nearly 10,000 customers."
“We know the new national electricity discount deal for our 67,000 members is causing concern for power retailers."
“They are fighting back with incentives to persuade their Grey Power customers not to switch companies,” Terry said.
In Dunedin, the Grey Power office signs up an average of three new members every weekday. This totals 500 or a rise of 66 percent in nine months. Grey Power Otago president Jo Millar said most were joining for the Grey Power Electricity deal, under which customers get a capped retail power price for five years allowing for price falls but no rises.
“We have people come in and say to us ‘my next door neighbour has just told me she has joined Grey Power Electricity and she’s saving X number of dollars a month’,” Jo said.
“People were reporting savings of between a few dollars and $40 a month.”
Pulse Energy chief executive Gary Holden said it was able to offer the deal because Grey Power members were steady, loyal customers who were more likely to pay their bills.
“Many had never switched before and so we knew that it would be the kind of thing that once they did the analysis, made the comparison to their current offer, made the decision to switch, it was likely that they would stay as a customer, and so we reflected that in the price.”
Grey Power Energy advisory group chairman Allen Davies said the scheme had been a great success but could easily have grown at twice the speed. But Allen said one problem was an industry practice called a SAVE, in which a person who begins the process to switch companies was offered inducements from their existing supplier, such as a $75 credit, not to leave.
“Other members had been told misleading stories to scare them out of changing, and was not on,” he said.
“It should be Hands Off."
“When the person wants to change, you let them change,” said Allen. “After three months, when that person is settled in with their new retailer, if you have another offer, give it to them, but make sure it’s one that is generally available to everybody, not an under-the-table deal just to try and get them back.”
Allen is submitting this proposal to the Government’s Electricity Authority, which has already proposed letting retailers choose to be protected from SAVES, in return for not engaging in the practice themselves.
To clear any confusion for its 1500 local members, Hamilton Grey Power has managed to attract Pulse Energy’s marketing manager, Sharnie Williams, to speak on October 13.
And newly elected Hamilton Grey Power president Roger Hennebry says the new discount deal has proved very popular and was driving membership growth. He strongly recommends his members keep the morning of October 13 between 10.45am and 11.45am clear to attend at the Age Concern building in Victoria Street.
“Just in the past month we’ve signed up 50 new members,” he said. “And as word gets out, Grey Power membership across the country is showing a high level of interest in the annual savings of up to $300."
The original article can be read here.