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Quarterly survey of domestic electricity prices

What is the Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices (QSDEP)?

The QSDEP reports each retailer’s electricity price for an assumed residential customer in each network pricing area and the lines component of that price (prices and lines components include GST).

Retail electricity prices reflect the cheapest low user tariff available, which doesn’t require customers to sign a fixed term contract. It is assumed that the customer pays their bill on time and receives any available prompt payment discount. Calculations are based on household electricity consumption of 8,000 kWh per year, assuming a typical metering configuration.

What is the purpose of the QSDEP?

The QSDEP is used to monitor high level trends in regional electricity prices for the modelled customer. This is used in market analysis and policy decisions. However, it does no reflect what an individual customer actually pays for electricity. The emergence of a wide range of discounts that are not reflected in tariffs, e.g. fixed term contracts and door-to-door sales mean that price trends apparent in the QSDEP should be treated with caution.

Residential customers should use www.powerswitch.org.nz and companies should use www.switchme.co.nz to make direct comparisons for their individual circumstances.

What are the key assumptions made by the QSDEP?

The customer consumes an average amount of electricity in a year (8,000 kWh of electricity per year).

Retail electricity prices reflect the cheapest low user tariff for a customer without a fixed term contract.

The customer is assumed to pay their bill on time and receive any available prompt payment discount.

Metering configurations in each network pricing area are based on the configuration that had the most connection points at the time the survey began (February 2000). In most areas metering is assumed to be 60% uncontrolled and 40% controlled or Composite (one meter with ripple control).

Market share is an approximation based on Installation Control Point (ICP) data. ICP data includes residential consumers, as well as commercial and industrial consumers. Approximately 87% of ICPs are residential customers.

Tariff data is sourced from Consumer NZ.

Lines charge information is collected separately for all electricity network companies through disclosures on their website.

Change to the QSDEP as at 15 November 2013

The QSDEP definition has been amended to include direct debit and/or electronic payment discounts, methods of payment that are now common e.g. customers who are with Powershop and customers signed up to Contact Energy’s Online OnTime discount are required to pay by these methods. The impact of this change is that the national average electricity price has been revised down on average by 0.9 c/kWh since the introduction of Contact Energy’s Online OnTime discount.


15 February 2014 QSDEP to be the last

The Ministry has decided to make further changes to the way prices are measured to better reflect the prices that people are paying for electricity, and the full range of discounts available. As a result, the QSDEP as at 15 February 2014 will be the last edition of this survey.

The Ministry’s new approach to electricity price measurement will provide:

  • Information every quarter on the average amount households paid for electricity at a national and regional level – this will reflect discounts received by consumers, such as prompt payment discounts, lower fixed term prices, loyalty rewards, and acquisition and retention payments
  • National average prices for commercial and industrial customers
  • Backdated information for the past five years, so that longer term price trends can still be monitored.

The first results from this new approach will be released in June 2014.


Related information

For important information about the methodology of this survey, see Notes to Quarterly Survey.



For older issues of the Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices, see the Archive of electricity price surveys.



If you’re having difficulty accessing this document, please contact us for assistance.

To find out more about the Quarterly Survey, please contact the Energy Information & Modelling team.

Creative Commons License

The Quarterly Survey of Domestic Electricity Prices by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.


Last updated 4 April 2014