Power in the hands of the consumer

The electric company that says it is New Zealand’s fairest deal has been recognised by its competitors as the best consumer retail product.

Energy companies voted Flick Electric Co as the best consumer retail product in the market for the last year, scoring 45 percent of the vote in the Annual New Zealand Electricity Survey.

Chief executive Steve O’Connor says the result is humbling.

“It’s exciting, when we started out we had a lot of people in the industry saying they didn’t think we’d be around in 12 months.

“But we’ve proven an innovative model can be great for customers.”

Flick Electric gives customers access to the wholesale price of electricity direct from the spot market – meaning they can save money by using electricity when it’s cheapest.

The company, which launched in 2014, is O’Connor’s latest venture. He previously coached entrepreneurs in Lean Startup methodology through his role at Creative HQ.

Flick has tracked well since it launched and was awarded best customer service and satisfaction by Consumer magazine last year. Its score in the survey of 96 percent was the highest the industry had ever seen.

The fact that this latest accolade was industry-voted was surprising to O’Connor.

“We’ve known for a while that we’ve been doing a great thing, and now it’s interesting switch to have that industry backing.”

The energy industry as a whole is starting to look at how it can impact on consumers lives better, O’Connor says.

Flick Electric initially launched in Wellington and Hamilton, and now has customers in all of the urban areas of the North Island and in Dunedin and Christchurch.

It now has just under 12,000 customers. O’Connor says the average savings for customers is $412 per annum.

In February Flick launched a world-first app called Choice, which gives users information about the carbon impact of the electricity they are using in real time. It is free for all users, even those using other power companies.

Since it’s launch, more than half Flick customers have the app. A notification ability has been added so customers no longer have seek information about power usage themselves.

“People are much more mindful about their environment now and they think about being conscious consumers.

“They want to know what impact power usage is having on their wallets, but also the environment.”

Looking ahead to the next year of business, O’Connor says the company is working on new technologies they hope to launch later in the year.