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Two thirds of vulnerable customers better off under Horizon Power trial pricing plan

An independent report into Horizon Power’s recent energy pricing product trial shows more than two-thirds of vulnerable customers were financially better off under the alternative model.

In the pricing trial, each participant was given an energy use “allowance” to keep within during peak periods, with customers being offered incentives to reduce their energy use during these times.

The research, which was undertaken by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre and Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS), in collaboration with Horizon Power to draw on its customer data from the pilot, found pricing plans had the potential to smooth energy costs over the course of a year by charging in a similar way to mobile phone plans.

Report author, Curtin University’s Dr Tom Houghton, said: “Once study participants were informed about the ways they could reduce their energy use during peak usage times, 25 per cent of participants were able to drop their peak usage by around 15 per cent,” Dr Houghton said.

Horizon Power acting Chief Executive Officer Mike Houlahan said the research demonstrated that alternative pricing options being developed by Horizon Power benefited most customers.

“Horizon Power is undertaking a lot of work to determine how we can help our customers manage their energy use and save money, and this research is helping to understand our different options,” Mr Houlahan said.

“We have taken the learnings from this research to develop the current MyPower product, the first of its kind in Australia, which is being trialled on an opt-in basis in Broome and Port Hedland.”

“Feedback from customers has been extremely positive, with close to three quarters saying they believe it’s a fairer way to pay for electricity and 84 per cent indicating they will stay on the product,” he said.

“We know most vulnerable customers are better off on power plans and we are working closely with government to ensure those who are not better off are not left behind,” he said.

Customers can follow this link for the full report: Power plans for electricity: The impact of tariff structure changes on energy vulnerable households.