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Meridian launches Powershop in NSW, to target Qld, SA next

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Meridian Energy launched has its online energy retailer, Powershop, in NSW, marking the New Zealand renewable energy giant’s latest challenge to Australia’s incumbent gentailers, with promises of instant 20 per cent savings on electricity bills.

The online product, which can also be accessed through a smartphone app, will give NSW customers the opportunity to “proactively budget” for their power costs, by shopping around for  the best available – and/or greenest – electricity deals.

Powershop says its customers can also use the online program as a sort of energy management too, to work out how much electricity they’re using, where they’re using it, and how much it’s costing.

The move up the east coast on Wednesday follows Meridian’s launch of PowerShop in Victoria last year, where the Wellington-based company says it now has more than 35,000 customers. Powershop predicts newcomers who switch from the Big Three utilities  – AGL, Origin Energy and Energy Australia – will save more than 20 per cent on their power bills.

Of course, soaring power bills have had the overall effect of making Australian consumers more conscious of how much electricity they’re using, and what they’re paying for it – all of which is good news for a “protest” offering like Powershop.

The company has already named south east Queensland and South Australia as their next target states, where they expect to roll out their product by the end the year.

In south east Queensland, local network operator Energex has been one of the few in Australia to acknowledge the changing shape of the power market.

Back in September 2013, the company noted in its annual report “a trend toward energy management options for customers.”

“As energy management options such as smart appliances, energy management software, in-home generation and battery storage become more available and affordable, we expect to see a significant change in the way customers use energy and our network,” the Energex report said.

“This will have wide-ranging implications for the way the distribution network is planned, built and operated, as well as for our ongoing business sustainability.”

Powershop CEO Ben Burge says customers now have an advantage over their electricity retailers. “They are smarter, have better information (through social networks and online tools) and have a choice to reject the traditional retail model by switching to a modern power company,” he said in a statement (he did not return calls).

“Powershop was born out of protest. Everything that annoyed us as customers – outrageous prices, lock in contracts, exit fees, hidden costs, bad customer service and jargon-filled, confusing information – has been dumped from our business model.

“It means people can manage their power consumption – and ultimately, their bill – all from the palm of their hand,” he said.  

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  • Ruben

    Doesn’t seem to really have launched in NSW yet.

    “Is Powershop available in my area?

    Powershop is currently available in Victoria. We are investigating adding other states in the near future.”

    • Hugh M

      Refresh page?
      “Is Powershop available in my area?

      Powershop is currently available in New South Wales and Victoria. We are investigating adding other states in the near future.”

      • Raahul Kumar

        That’s fairly poor. It’s not available in most of the states of Australia.

        • mikec

          I originally read about Powershop and was disappointed to see they were only in VIC, so great news to see they have expanded into NSW. Fantastic to have a giving a genuine renewable retailer option and not stuck with the coal monopoly!

          • Raahul Kumar

            Origin claims to have a green energy option, which we were using before. Your retailer might make it an option, and in Tasmania the power source might be from dams anyway.

          • mikec

            The point is that my current retailer do have a few “green” options but are predominantly involved with heavy carbon generation, i no longer want to have my cash supporting large scale pollution.
            I also don’t have roof access for solar.

            http://www.greenpeace.org/australia/en/what-we-do/climate/The-Green-Electricity-Guide/

          • Raahul Kumar

            Thanks for the Greenpeace Guide, I was looking for something similar. The only option for people who rent is to buy energy efficient appliances, cars, LEDs etc.

            There is still scope for change, just not as much as homeowners.

          • mikec

            For renters, buy from a renewable retailer! I.e powershop

          • Raahul Kumar

            I’m looking into that right now, from the Greenpeace guide. But I don’t know which of the green options I can use, because only the polluting options are always available.

          • Pauline McKelvey

            Raahull, any change from the status quo is challenging, I know that myself, so good on you for making the steps you’re making. I just switched to PowerShop (NSW) and feel great about it. Trust is creeping back as the good people get organised and the real and genuine alternatives we need become available to us, the little people just trying to do our bit. Making this change couldn’t have been simpler, PowerShop make it easy for the new customer. And what have I got to lose? Could always change back if it didn’t work out.

          • Raahul Kumar

            I went with the Greenpeace guide someone posted up above, and tying to arrange my connection now. Diamond Energy seems the best one in Queensland, although I’m renting and don’t have the option of putting up my own solar panel.

          • Pauline McKelvey

            good to know

  • Hugh M

    The rhetoric is true in my experience – we’ve saved 24%-30% in the past 6 months with Powershop. I like being able to track my usage patterns across the day (in 30 min blocks).

    • Blackandwhite

      It doesn’t provide 30min increments of data for public though.

      I use powershop and it provides data once a day, and a day late. I’ve got Wednesday data tonight being Thursday night

  • Chris

    We’re on Powershop and it seems really good so far. Not all their power is 100% green, ie. you still need to consciously choose a renewable product, however, they communicate well and give me a feeling of control and participation. I chose to buy 4 months worth of SA wind power ahead of time, in spring, when the price was about 25% lower, to last me through summer (otherwise they just bill you afterward). Seems a much smarter business model for them to collect money ahead of time, while giving me the discount for taking an interest, and the surety provided. A mature approach. I’m super happy.

  • Melinda Wilson

    Does Powershop generate power using coal seam gas ?