Until our recent move to test out Flick Electric Co. in January, we have had our home electricity with Energy Online for the past four years.
My Energy Online review would be that they are reliable, hassle free and generally cost effective with a couple of pricing tricks to watch out for.
Energy Online Introduction
Energy Online is a moderately sized electricity retailer, owned by Genesis Energy. With over 85,000 customers, they are the 6th largest power retailer in NZ with around 4% of all customers.
According to their website, they aim to be a 100% online business and aim to keep things simple.
In practice this means that there is only one available plan, rates are published on their website and are usually quite competitive without having to compare multiple plans.
Energy Online Features
|Services||Electricity - Natural Gas (piped) - LPG (bottles)|
|Fixed Term Prices?||Yes, typically 12 months|
|Fixed Term Contract?||No Fixed Term Contracts. No Break Fees.|
|Prompt Payment Discount||20%|
|Payment Methods||Direct Debit - Credit Card - via Mobile App - Internet Banking - NZ Post Shops - At your bank|
|Regular Payment Option?||Yes 'ReliaBill' for smoothing payments over the year|
|Power Usage Monitoring||Not Available|
|Mobile Apps||iPhone & Android|
|Signup Bonus?||Yes - $50 account credit for new electricity customers, $100 for electricity and gas (at time of writing)|
|Referral Bonus?||Yes - $50 account credit when referring a friend (at time of writing)|
We joined Energy Online after requesting a switch of retailer via the Consumer Powerswitch website. At the time we were living in Hawke’s Bay and Energy Online was heavily advertising their attractive power rates.
The signup process went very smoothly.
Before doing too much else, Energy Online ran a credit check and once this was out of the way we received a welcome email and then just waited for the first bill to arrive.
Pricing Plans & Contracts
As there are no fixed term contracts, Energy Online only have one set of pricing to understand for your location.
I like this, as I would rather spend my time comparing rates between retailers rather than trying to decipher multiple plans with different rates, incentives, and terms.
You can see pricing (example only!) straight from their website, e.g.:
In my experience, once agreed my pricing has been set for 12 months, and we have received notice that pricing is being reviewed typically around the 11-month mark.
I would advise never just accept the pricing offered. If you have time, definitely shop around to check if the prices offered are competitive, especially if they are a significant increase. Or just send Energy Online an email saying you’re not happy with the revised pricing and ask if they can do any better. If you’re a good customer, paying on time with little hassle – then it’s possible they can cut you a deal.
After our first year, I received an email like this, advising that my pricing was increasing:
I calculated the increase as being 12%, or $300 p.a. over the previous pricing. When I queried this, I received an offer to hold the pricing for another 12 months. Done deal.
There is no fixed term contract, so you can switch at any time.
Prompt Payment Discount
Energy Online offer a high prompt payment discount of 20%. Obviously, this discount is built into their rates.
You get 15 calendar days from when your bill is received to make payment in full to be eligible for the discount.
The flip-side is that 20% is a big penalty for missing a payment.
Not much to say really. Bills arrived on time every month via email, and we had a direct debit scheduled to pay them on the due date.
Bills were accurate, and even estimated reading was reasonably good.
We have moved house with Energy Online, and this process was very simple. I just let them know our move-out & move-in dates, then provided our move-out and move-in power readings for each property.
They did the paperwork, which was all correct.
Website & Mobile App
The website and mobile app (I have the Android one) function in a very similar nature. They allow you to:
- See your current and historical bills
- Enter meter readings, if you want to help Energy Online help you by avoiding woefully estimated readings
- Pay your bill
- Check and change account details, including moving house
- Add additional services (e.g. bottled gas) and also additional properties to your account (e.g. beach house).
This very much depends on where you are based, but in general looking at my own situation and also reviewing accounts for friends and family – Energy Online are usually in the top three options.
For better or for worse, I moved my mother-in-law to Energy Online last year.
I would recommend never accepting the first rates offered, especially if you are a good customer. No harm in asking for something better.
Another trick is that I have seen two rate cards on occasion. What’s on the Energy Online website (let’s call these the standard rates) and what they offer on the Powerswitch website – their ‘Competitive’ rates – which bumps Energy Online up the comparison chart.
I have twice gone back asking for the Competitive rates and saved money by doing so.
Energy Online Review – Conclusion
Easy to deal with, decent website and efficient customer service. Pricing is transparent and generally competitive, so at least you’ll know you are not getting a raw deal.
If you are a new customer, make sure you email them and ask for the most competitive rates they have to offer.
As an existing customer, don’t fall into the trap of the inevitable yearly price review. If you think you are a good customer, you probably are so ask for a better deal.
In summary – a solid, minimal-frills power retailer, who do the basics well without doing anything truly remarkable.
With the advent of smart metering, I think there is scope for extra value to be added by allowing tracking of usage within a month, consumption alerts and a more proactive approach to ensuring the customer is on the correct price category (standard vs low user).
Update – Bonus $50
Since moving to Auckland we are still using Energy Online for our gas.
If you want to sign up, then use this Friend Get Friend link, you’ll get an extra $50 credit on your account in additional to the standard new customer credit.
If you have any comments to add to this Energy Online review, just drop me a line on the contact form – or else leave a comment below.