Heather du Plessis-Allan: Personal responsibility needed to get your own savings

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 31 Mar 2021, 4:10PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Personal responsibility needed to get your own savings

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Wed, 31 Mar 2021, 4:10PM

On the electricity companies and whether they should be forced to sign up to a mandatory code - this is what consumer NZ is calling for, in order to force your electricity provider to tell you if you’re paying too much for your power and if there is a better deal for you.

And plenty of people might well be paying too much.  It emerged in November that Meridian Energy is charging some existing customers 11 per cent more than it was offering new customers.

But do you need a code, or is this a case of engaging a bit of personal responsibility? 

Yesterday I got an email from my electricity provider to say that the 12 month contract we’d been locked into was expiring and so we were losing our 10 percent prompt payment discount, because Megan Woods banned that.

And we were being switched to an open-ended contact and if we wanted to we could lock in for another 12 months and could get a three percent discount.

That was obviously not going to fly, so this morning I gave them a call and asked them to do better.

14 percent discount and $200 credit - how good’s that? All because I picked up the phone.

Now, while I’m not arguing against a mandatory code forcing electricity companies to tell us this without us picking up the phone, I’m not here to defend them - but I am arguing for a bit of perspective. 

It is their job to make money, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they don’t turn your cash away, and a mandatory code is not going to fix your problems if you’re just throwing cash at businesses .

Because electricity is only one expense. If that’s how you roll, paying way too much, then you’re probably also going to need a mandatory code for your mobile phone, your Netflix, your Wi-Fi, your builder, your plumber, your gym. 

The fact is every single company you’re paying is trying to get the maximum amount of money out of you, and the only person who can stop that from getting out of hand is you.