Flick’s petition for fairer power prices
Back in 2021, 11,211 awesome Kiwis signed our petition to the Government to fix the electricity market and bring down power prices, either by splitting up the gentailers (companies that both generate and sell power) or making sure everyone purchased power on the same market.
If yours was one of those signatures, thank you for your support!
Why do we need to fix the electricity market?
The current market set-up means gentailers are able to hold back generation for their own retail brands and sell electricity to them at a cheaper rate than independents can buy it for (known as Internal Transfer Prices).
They’re also incentivised to withhold generation to push up wholesale power prices, something we’ve seen happen time and again, and which has been highlighted in the Electricity Authority’s (EA) wholesale market review. It’s behaviour that the market structure and regulators seem to allow, and Kiwi consumers are paying the price.
MBIE’s report on energy hardship measures for the year ended June 2022 showed that 110,000 households couldn’t afford to keep their homes warm. The broken market is putting financial pressure on families, contributing to energy hardship and denying Kiwis access to fair pricing and choice.
What happened with Flick’s petition?
Getting a petition through Parliament is no quick process: we submitted our petition to Parliament in December 2021, and it was presented to Parliament in February 2022. In October it went to the Economic Development, Science, and Innovation Committee, where we also had the opportunity to make an oral presentation.
In April 2023 the Select Committee advised that, unfortunately, the petition wouldn’t be progressing any further (here’s their final report).
Will Flick keep pushing for change?
While we’re frustrated and disappointed with that outcome, it’s only fuelled us to fight harder. Our position hasn’t changed: the current market structure continues to allow the gentailers to misuse their market power, keeping prices high, limiting competition and restricting consumer choice when it comes to retailers.
Others, including Consumer NZ, are also joining our calls for change, especially in light of gentailers’ recent financial reports which show the largest single-year combined increase in earnings on record.
So we’re continuing to monitor the market and compile evidence, and engage with the EA and the Commerce Commission to draw attention to the unfair practices of those with significant market power.
Has there been any progress to date?
Since the Government’s Electricity Price Review in 2018, the EA’s made some changes to try and make the wholesale market more competitive. That includes requiring gentailers to disclose their Internal Transfer Prices and retail gross margins.
The EA is also looking into ways it can improve its monitoring of the retail market, and we take that as a positive sign that our continual mahi in pushing for reform, a more competitive market and better power prices for Kiwis are, to some extent, being heeded.
Ultimately, it’s only structural change that will bring down power prices for Kiwis – and that’s what we’ll keep fighting for.
If you’re already one of our awesome Flicksters, we appreciate you and the support you’ve given this petition, and us, so far. Your words of encouragement continue to inspire us and remind us that it’s a fight that really matters.
And if you’re not a Flick customer yet, now’s the time! Join the Flick whānau and our movement for a fairer electricity market.