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Consumer NZ comments on Mercury Glo-bug prepay

posted Mar 19, 2012, 6:42 PM by ema-1 ema-1   [ updated Aug 7, 2012, 5:40 PM ]
"Electricity retailer Mercury Energy is using new technology to make pre-paid electricity plans more convenient for customers, but Consumer New Zealand says it isn't in people's interests to pay in advance for power.

Mercury retail general manager James Munro said the Mighty River Power subsidiary was about to extend its hi-tech "Glo-bug" pre-payment system, which is used by 13,000 customers in Auckland, to Christchurch

It would launch the service in Wellington "as soon as smart meters are deployed in any great numbers" in the capital and hoped it might be able to market it to other electricity retailers.

"Nationwide, we would estimate there would be 100,000 to 150,000 homes that could benefit from a pre-paid service," Munro said.

Mercury has given an assurance that it has no plans to foist the payment option on customers who don't have poor credit histories.

But Consumer NZ testing manager Hamish Wilson said the consumer rights group suspected systems like Glo-bug might mean retailers became more aggressive about channelling customers towards pre-pay. It was also concerned by planned increases in power prices"

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