Update Sept 2018 : Contact Energy have released a brand new prepay power offering!!
Prepay power companies can too often be considered in a negative light. Portrayed as a last resort for consumers with bad credit, or wanting to avoid the invasiveness of credit checks.
In reality, prepay power is also a great way of providing cost certainty and avoiding debt. It’s a different way of managing your outgoings, and I personally view it as an area ripe for continued innovation in order to provide flexible, consumer-focused energy solutions.
I have recently done a quick review and write-up on the current state of prepay power. I plan to update this late 2018 with a price comparison of prepay power versus ‘normal’ power. Watch this space.
If you notice any errors or omissions, please let me know.
List of Prepay Power Companies
Large power generator and retailer. Offer standard and prepay connections.
Having originally been in the news for overly expensive prepay options, Contact have recently lowered prices plus they have modernised their prepay offering in 2018.
Electricity is paid for up front (like a prepaid mobile), usage can be tracked on the Contact website or via a mobile phone app. You can build up credit during the warmer months to use over winter.
Most importantly, electricity rates are the same as they normally are and prepay customers always get the full prompt payment discount.
Click here to check out Contact’s Prepay offering and sign up
Update June 2018: A number of readers have informed me that Contact no longer offer prepay energy options to new customers 🙁
Update Sept 2018: Contact have just released a revamped prepay offering for new customers! See the link above to the Contact website to check it out.
Moderately sized electricity retailer specialising in prepay power. Owned by the large generator and retailer Mercury Energy.
The largest player (dedicated or otherwise) in the NZ prepay power market. As the largest player, Globug has also received periodic negative press on pricing and the prepaid approach in general.
View your balance and top-up via mobile phone, or with a green GLOBUG payment card thousands of outlets such as dairies, i-sites and bookshops.
Notifications are given via the Globug app and text message (if opted in) 36 hours and 12 hours before credit runs out. Power is disconnected if balance runs out, but there is no charge for dis/reconnections.
If you transfer from Mercury Energy to Globug with account debt, this can be paid off over time without any interest or additional charges.
Moderately sized electricity retailer, owned by Meridian Energy, with a business model based upon heavy online user interaction and operating a pre-pay-ish payment model (more on this below).
Power is purchased online and regular ‘specials’ are offered to encourage the advance purchase of power units. Powershop fans report lower power prices than a traditional retailer, as long as the monthly Simple Saver Powerpacks and Special Powerpacks are purchased when available.
Power prices will fluctuate during the year to reflect the change in the average wholesale power price during the year. Typically winter months being more expensive than the summer months, when power prices are cheaper.
They also offer a $150 signup credit, applied over the first three months.
Powershop have confirmed they do undertake credit checks for new customers as part of the signup process.
Prepay or Not?
The official Powershop line is that they are a postpaid electricity retailer, using a standard meter onsite to record usage and billing for end at the end of the month.
“Where we differ, is that we offer our customers discounted electricity in the form of ‘Powerpacks’ – an excellent way to save money by buying in advance, plus, you won’t lose supply if you do not buy in advance.”
Why I consider them a ‘prepay-ish’ retailer is purchasing the discounted ‘Powerpacks’ inevitably means buying electricity to use in the future.
I personally am a fan of having a range of prepay options available to customers as it provides the flexibility to purchase power with smaller payments and stay in touch with what you are spending day-to-day.
Powershop offer a $150 signup credit, applied over the first three months.
Residential & Business: email@example.com
Trustpower Large power generator and retailer. Offer standard and prepay connections.
Update October 2017: Trustpower have been in touch and confirmed they no longer off prepay energy options 🙁
Wise Pre-Pay Energy
Small electricity retailer specialising in prepay power, associated with Hunet Energy.
View your balance and top-up via mobile phone, or retail outlets. Unlike Globug, Wise Prepay is available for any property with a newer smart meter (as long as you are in their coverage area) and doesn’t require a special prepay only meter.
No deposit, credit check or fixed contract applies.
** Currently only servicing the Auckland, Waikato, Rotorua, Taupo and Hawke’s Bay areas **
(Thanks to Sam for letting me know about the new areas!)
One Minute Help!
If you are an existing Prepay customer, I would really appreciate you filling out the following 1-page survey: Prepay Power Survey
It’ll take about one minute and lets me know your prepay experience. Thanks a lot, Nathan.
Remember to check out my write-up on the upside and downside of prepaying for electricity.
This is all of the prepay providers I can find in NZ. If you find any other companies please let me know.