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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1649496 11-Oct-2016 21:51
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jdanner:

 

@deepthought

I think the crux of the issue here is around the lack of visibility of per kWh pricing. Knowing how many dollars I've topped up into my account is pretty useless unless I know how much a kWh costs today and every day for the foreseeable future. I might buy $150 (worth $154) of power and it tells me that will last X days, but is that X days just at today's kWh price? I'm assuming you'll be varying the kWh pricing thus reducing the foresight we'll have into how much power we're actually buying, a statistic that will only now be available in hindsight?

That was the great thing about the current (old) pricing scheme - I could buy packs knowing exactly how many kWhs that would get me. Building the daily charge into the kWh charge to get c/unit made the math extremely simple and led to the embarrassment of every power company door knocker who had the misfortune of trundling up to my door with their complicated charts and calculations. Having the combined pricing was a good competitive advantage - a point of differentiation that you're losing in the new model.

 

I can't help but wonder if you're (unintentionally) burning bridges with your geek early adopters in order to pursue a larger mass market who are more placated by perceived value (20% off your normal prices!) rather than the hard c/unit numbers that show the value your product is actually delivering.

 



One could almost say that some of the geek early adopters have already switched to Flick prior to this business change for that exact reason (more visibility/control over hard numbers).

Personally I think I'll stick with Powershop despite this, but it really would've been great to not have a large part of my customer experience changed with such little notice. Are we as Geekzone users/early adopters the minority when it comes to the customer base, and the majority of users really struggle to understand the old pricing scheme?





Lannah - find me on twitter.


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Powershop

  Reply # 1649523 11-Oct-2016 23:15
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@flickky, thanks for your comments and loyalty. I would say that most of our customers are capable of understanding our prices, but really don't want to have to make the effort - which we agree with. It is out job to make things as simple as possible for our customers. Where our geekzone customers/early adopters are probably a bit different is that they have a higher propensity to want to understand the numbers than most.


 
 
 
 


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Geek
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  Reply # 1649539 12-Oct-2016 00:29
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Some constructive feedback: 

 

It feels like the engagement has completely changed. Previously you would hunt around for specials, seasonal powerpacks, pre buy power (sometimes up to a year ahead). You wouldn't always get things perfect or even the best price at times, but you felt in control and that you made the savings (beat the odds so to speak). You were actually buying something that had meaning, it's actually really easy to understand that buying a unit meant you had 1 kw/h of power in the bank (even if it's hard to understand the price aspect for some people!).

 

That same confusing estimate of units used per day still exists and is shown to customers in the estimated days of power AND in the price per day (so it's technically more confusing, but in areas that are less important to the average person). To be honest it now feels like you're buying Powershop gift cards at a slight discount (which you really are when you think about it). I have to remain using the app/following Facebook only to not miss out on saving a few of dollars (I have no doubt people will continue to do this).

 

Other companies could say you save 20% on their power rates with the prompt payment discount, give it a dollar figure and be some large number that doesn't have a lot of meaning. People know the discount is already built into the price so it's not really savings. Put it another way, to get the discount price with another power company, I just have to pay the bill on time. With Powershop I have to be there 3 times in the month to nab the short term specials, and likely buy a pack to cover the months power 'before' getting a timely reminder of the monthly review for the highest discount.

 

Engagement is a great thing, however, if it becomes less engaging (and it feels that way to me), the line starts moving towards forced engagement (or as I like to call it, burden). You may overlook it as it's not much of a burden at all, but it changes my perception and feelings towards Powershop. If customers stop feeling the same way about Powershop, it will have lost it's most valuable asset.

 

 


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  Reply # 1649590 12-Oct-2016 09:12
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Thanks @crimson, very insightful! These are the exact issues that we have debated long and hard as we developed the new approach. There are undoubtedly experience aspects that are lost with the shift away from units. On balance we concluded that we could improve the overall experience by making pricing simpler and more predictable whilst retaining as much of the existing experience as possible and importantly providing control for our customers. One of the biggest issues with traditional retailer billing is that by the time customers receive their bill it is too late to do anything about it. Sure, a prompt payment discount will save you money, but that is much different to having an incentive to login regularly, track your usage and top up your account whenever you like with low effort. These are the key elements of customer control. We will continue to have regular specials to deliver savings and we will continue to have future powerpacks to allow customers to plan ahead. We have also obviously retained to power organiser as a easy way to manage your account. We're confident that with familiarity the new approach will continue to deliver the necessary components for customers to remain in control. We'll continue tweaking the design to ensure this is the case. We also promise to continue making buying power simple and fun.


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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1649615 12-Oct-2016 09:40
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@deepthought

 

On the "Shop" rates, my fixed is 34.5 c/day and for October my variable is 28.10 c/kWh. (the following example is made up using this information)

 

If I remember the old conversations correctly, if I buy a power pack that has 100 kWh you estimate how many days that is likely to cover and build in the daily charge into the pack - let's say for example you calculate that it should last me 6.75 days: (6.75 x 34.5) + (100 x 28.10) = 3133.98c.  To make is a better deal you sell the power to me at a 5% discount: (6.75 x 34.5) + (100 x 26.695) = 2902.375c which would be shown on the bill as 29.02 c/kWh.  As long as this stays around or below the average that Genesis etc charge then I know I'm doing okay.

 

In the old method, I knew that I have bought 100 kWh for $29.02 which actually depending on the weather might actually last me between 3 and 8 days in November.  Now all I know is that I have bought some power that by your information has a cost of about $4.29/day which is meaningless to me.  For every power pack I buy to make sure I'm actually getting any value for money, I would have to go through the above calculation - and even then there are so many variables in play I can't say for certain what the breakdown of the kWh amount is.

 

Here is a real example.  Based on this information, the current "Welcome" power pack (which I've already bought) is described as $15.02 worth $18.31 (18% off) and has a value of "About" $3.84/day.  Please tell me, how may kWh I've actually bought, and what the cost in c/kWh is - I can't work it out.  According to my account for October, fixed = 34.5c/day and variable is 28.10c/kWh.  My average from the "Insights" tab on the app is 14.8 kWh/day.  Please PM me if you would like my account number to give me an accurate calculation.

 

As a comparison, If I buy a top-up of $16 from Skinny it doesn't say "Around 28 days of use", it tells me exactly how many minutes, texts and data I will get for the period I have purchased.  At the end of the day, I think we would prefer the option of being able to choose the method of calculation shown to us.  I do not believe the new method is transparent.

 

Thanks





Procrastination eventually pays off.


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  Reply # 1649622 12-Oct-2016 09:52
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Can't you just have an option buried deep in account settings somewhere that allows the geeks to turn on the "old" mode?

 

That way, dumbo customers like me will be happy, but those who really want to get out the Excel Spreadsheet (Sorry, we're true geeks, I mean Openoffice Calc) to make sure they are saving that extra $2.03 a year can still do so.

 

Or is it more complex than that?


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  Reply # 1649715 12-Oct-2016 12:19
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@muppet, I wish it was that simple. Obviously we are supporting the two approaches during the migration, but it is too complex and expensive to support two different customer experiences/pricing methodologies long term. On balance we feel the new approach is the better one, but accept that it is a change that will take some adjusting to.


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1671659 16-Nov-2016 06:59
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I'm a long time Powershop customer who is not happy with the new approach. My main annoyance is that the estimate of dollars per day in each pack price is meaningless. It appears to be based on two recent meter reads a few days apart, with no smoothing to account for the customer's within-week usage patterns. Our typical use this time of year is 10-12 kWh on a weekday, and 20-30 kWh on a weekend day. The daily price estimate varies greatly depending on how many weekend days are in the period it was calculated from.

 

I saw yesterday that the app has been updated to include a summary of rates (for the previous, current, and next month) available from the main menu. That's better than nothing, but still a much worse user experience for me than the old app provided. I'll give it a few months, but will probably switch if the app remains as it is now.


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  Reply # 1705571 19-Jan-2017 06:21
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Has there been any change to this situation, the 'withdrawal of transparency' of kw/hr consumption for Powershop

 

customers late last year?

 

 

 

I ask now, because I will soon change address, so it is logical time to 'shop around' among electricity providers.

 

I was a Powershop customer for several years until late last year, until the 'app' change and 'loss of transparency'.

 

I then changed to Flick, which I found 'a bit' cheaper, but whose 'app' has an annoyingly delay between my 'consumption'

 

and visibibilty of what the consumption was, such that I get billed each week before I can see for myself how much I used.

 

 

 

Can any current Powershop customers update if the changes of late 2016, which caused so much irritation among customers

 

then, have been subsequently amended by Powershop? 


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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1705574 19-Jan-2017 06:43
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No, you're still prepaying for something and you don't know how much you're buying. I am still with Powershop, but I find it frustrating and unclear. If I buy a power pack it might say 6% discount for example, and "about 17 days of power". No mention of KWh. The end of month summary email tells you how many c per KWh.

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  Reply # 1705647 19-Jan-2017 09:37
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I haven't read every reply, but the changes were driven by the government's change to how Transpower funds the national electricity transmission network. This means power goes up for pretty much everyone in Auckland, for example. 

Powershop had been including the lines charges in the price of each unit. They have now stopped doing this and their new way presenting the information is clearly intended to blur that fact. 

One of the main reasons I went to Powershop in 2008 was the lack of a fixed lines charge. Now that this feature is gone, I'm looking at solar panels and thinking maybe it's time to completely re-evaluate how I get my electricity. If nothing else, I'm a bit tired of having an essential service like this being an ideological football. This government increased power prices to prepare the balance sheets of the state-owned power companies for private sale. This was after they had been elected in 2008 on a promise to do something about power pricing......and most people thought that was to see  them decrease. As far as I know, over the past 30 years if National says they are going to lower power prices, they have always done something to make them go up. I can't think of any exceptions unless you're a big, industrial power user.

Anyway....I'm kind of over it. A new house on a sunny, semi-rural, north-facing hillside slathered in solar panels and 5kw wind turbine on top of a tower....and half a dozen storage batteries. Might cost me $40k, but I'll never have to worry about how right-wing ideologues will next screw up the power supply ever again.   





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High fibre diet


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  Reply # 1705650 19-Jan-2017 09:42
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rendezvous: No, you're still prepaying for something and you don't know how much you're buying. I am still with Powershop, but I find it frustrating and unclear. If I buy a power pack it might say 6% discount for example, and "about 17 days of power". No mention of KWh. The end of month summary email tells you how many c per KWh.


If you login on the web site or check the daily breakdown in the app, you get a number of units used each day. I used 17 units yesterday (I didn't charge my car) and 26 the day before (I charged my car). 

On the "Usage" -. "Your rates" page on the web site, they break out the daily charge (for me $1.9356 / day) and the c/kWh (15.31 cents each for me).

I think the intention is show you're getting cheap power......but now you can see more clearly the lines charges and the included govt charges.

They just haven't presented that as clearly as they might have.   They are trying to obscure the fact there is now a flat daily charge......which if you multiply it out, in my case, is $58.06 for the 30-day month.....but the unit charge is about 15 cents.  Update: The 15c is "special rates"...and I tend to buy the specials. My standard rate is 17.55c / unit. 





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BDFL - Memuneh
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  Reply # 1799340 13-Jun-2017 13:56
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@deepthought:

 

2. Over the years we have had a lot of customer feedback that our pricing is confusing and difficult to predict. The changes we are introducing are designed to improve this. Under our previous pricing we spread fixed daily costs across expected usage and turned these into a c/unit value that was added to variable costs to produce unit prices. Our special products incorporated discounts to these prices. This approach resulted in prices that were difficult for customers to understand and that sometimes changed in unpredictable ways. Our new approach is to designed make this simpler and more predictable. Now we sell packs of power in dollar denominations. Specials include dollar amount discounts (that are locked in). The terminology we have adopted is cost (how much the pack costs) and worth (the amount of power you get with the pack). The "worth" amount is calculated with respect to an underlying tariff that includes both fixed daily costs and variable costs. Customers can view this tariff information by clicking the "rates and prices" link at the bottom of the "Shop" page on the website. These rates are not currently accessible in our mobile app, but this is something we are working on.

 

 

Sorry to bring this back to life. I still think buying power on a "approximately x days of power" basis is not ideal.

 

Actually I decided to unlock this because a co-worker moved to Flick and she just cancelled the move because of a kickback offer. She gave a good feedback today, which was basically not liking the micro-management and the confusing power structure...





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  Reply # 1799485 13-Jun-2017 15:32
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I have to say my view has changed slightly about the change (note I'm currently using both the new [in NZ] and the old [in Aus] systems - I believe they starting adding new users to the old system after the new one was panned heavily just like in NZ). I use almost no power in Aus ~4kwh a day and the amount a unit of power fluctuates is pretty ridiculous (this is solely from fluctuating estimated daily usage charges as the power price doesn't fluctuate each month over there). I think it was ~4c change in a month (they don't do low user plans there, so fixed daily charge are getting up to half my bill). While it wouldn't apply to many users, it quite frankly is a large problem for low users (as well as the sweltering 45c/kwh price it shows which is still what I'd pay from another company anyway, but would scare people). I think I'd rather be on the new system...

 

The real problem is trying to pidgeon hole the new system into the old thinking (i.e. you're buying consumable amounts of power. Interesting that a company about thinking fresh and different is stuck in the past). You're not anymore you're buying discounted power money that later pays for your bill (argue all you want, but this is the reality). So they have to change how they show it and sell it to users.

 

What makes Powershop different to the generic retailer:

 

  • Compete price wise (won't add my opinion on how they're doing there to save argument and it's not relevant to the point)
  • Seasonal pricing
  • Customer service (a little anecdote, switched to PS in Aus (twice), dealing with the old power company trying to switch was quite frankly an awful experience both times (needless hours wasted and staff deliberately lying and not doing what asked for sales kickbacks). The first time when we stayed with the old company for $$$, rang PS to say wasn't switching and they're like, "OK, we'll be here if you change your mind". After that the missus was set on PS which happened later and another dreadful experience trying to switch away). The old company were great until you had to talk to them, then became the worst power company in existence.
  • Pre-pay power discounts, higher the more you buy
  • Engage with your usage - potential to reduce your consumption by understanding it better

The bill is largely calculated the same way as a normal company now (except the price for kwh use changes monthly and the discounts are applied differently). So with retailers (including PS), it calculates the bill based on [variable usage cost for month x kwhs + fixed daily costs] (and PS price is fixed in advance). But with PS, it is paid for out of the discounted prepaid money where you bought $100 for $90, while others go for the $100 bill but you only pay $90 approach. The later is less confusing as purchases are backed with hard usage details and precise pricing, while buying $15 (estimated 5 days power) for $13.95 is not. 

 

If people can't understand that this is the case (and they really don't), then that's a pretty large issue. Juicy incentives offered when switching away will only work for so long.


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  Reply # 1799723 13-Jun-2017 23:19
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Here are some screen grabs from Facebook. So no surprise that I don't like Powershop. If they can afford to pay big incentives, then presumably they are charging too much anyway.

 

Click to see full size

 

Click to see full size

 

Normally I would say just switch to Flick Electric, but their wholesale prices are a bit high at the moment. They will almost certainly be far cheaper during spring.

 

 

 

[Edited to add]

 

Nothing on any of their signup pages to say that they have a list of power companies that they won't match for their savings promise. Yet surprise surprise after a month or so they removes the savings guarantee offer. (leaving just the signup credit) So presumably their compliance department thought it was misleading and got the offer amended.

 

Either way they should have never advertised such an offer if they were not prepared to honour it. As Flick Electric publish their pricing schedules online, and surely Powershop should be able to do at least semi accurate wholesale market projections.






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