Powershop have migrated from New Zealand and plan to completely change the way you think about your gas and electricity bill. This Birmingham based supplier claims to put your power back into your hands -both literally and metaphorically.
Powershop is an electricity supplier which was originally founded in New Zealand in 2010 as a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, a government owned electricity generator and supplier. Powershop Energy had great success in New Zealand with 96% of their customers rating them good or very good in 2017. They also won best supplier in the Consumer Institute of New Zealand in 2011.
The company’s original plan was to change the way customers bought their electricity. Instead of the usual estimated bills they wanted to sell tokens in supermarkets. This idea was quickly discarded but they decided to sell “powerpacks via an online app.” The idea was a hit and the company quickly spread to Australia and now, in 2017, to the UK with the help of Npower.
The company is still relatively small, headed by David Winter and with around 50 employees.
Always intrigued by a new idea, here at Selectra we wanted to give a Powershop Energy review and discover whether their new “powerpack” concept of paying for your electricity really can save you money.
The main concept of Powershop is that you can choose when and how you pay for your electricity and gas bills. You buy different powerpacks and use them against the cost of your electricity. The more powerpacks you use the more you can save.
What we are hearing from customers is that you must “engage to save” and how you interact with the app will dictate how much money you will save on your energy bills. Buying powerpacks can give you up to a 33% discount.
47% of their customers love the method and find the app engaging and fun. Many customers also claim to have saved a considerable amount on their bills and on their website they claim an average customer will save up to £346 compared to the big six, when using their ‘top shopper’ rate.
However, an equal number of customers are dissatisfied with the service with 37% saying that they are unhappy with the new method of paying the bills. The majority of these customers found that using the app, providing meter readings every day and spending time buying the powerpacks was too much effort. Some customers say that you must buy all the powerpacks and the future packs in order to really achieve the savings level claimed on the website.
Customers say that the financial pressure of buying the powerpacks and the uncertainty of what the bills are going to be has put them off. Some customers have added that if you join in winter it can be especially difficult as you have no way to buy the powerpacks in advance and so get hit with paying the standard rate, which is quite expensive.
Powershop have tried to address these issues by introducing “powershop lite” this year. With powershop lite customers can pay a fixed sum, much as they do with any other company and save the hassle of buying the energy packs. This deal is unfortunately only available for new customers and is not available for current customers of either Powershop UK or Npower which may disappoint some.
We’d say that Powershop has created an interesting new way to pay energy bills. It could be a great choice and offer considerable savings for those who are switched on about their energy bills and don’t mind spending time and effort buying the powerpacks. We’d also only recommend Powershop for those who can afford to buy the powerpacks upfront. It’s definitely not a tariff for those who are living month by month and don’t have some disposable income.
The Powershop online account is a very important part of their service. Not only can you use it to manage your energy like most suppliers but it is also where you can buy powerpacks.
Powershop Energy’s website is straightforward without an overload of information. It’s reasonably easy to find the information that you need and they are transparent about their complaint volumes and procedures. Our only niggle is that it is difficult to see exactly how the powerpacks work without signing up. It would be great if they had some more videos on their Youtube channel demonstrating exactly how they work.
The majority of customers found the online portal useful and easy to use. When logged in with your username and password you can carry out day to day tasks such as updating your account details, providing meter readings or checking your balance without having to pick up the phone.
Of course, the Powershop UK app is the perfect complement to the online account. With the app you can quickly check how much energy you are using by month, week, or even by day.
There are also easy to understand barcharts where you can see how much energy you’ve used and compare it to how much you are estimated to use. Because the usage is updated in real time it’s really easy for customers to see patterns in their energy usage and give them the tools to help them reduce their bills.
You can download the app either from the Google Play Store or the App Store. The app has 4.4 stars on the Play Store and the majority of customers are satisfied with how it works, especially with how it displays their usage. One niggle is that the app doesn’t show how much energy you get in the powerpacks, just the currency value. If Powershop is selling themselves to clued up customers this is something that they’d surely appreciate.
Tariffs & Prices
Obviously, the tariff system with Powershop UK isn’t quite the same as with the other suppliers on the market. They have also recently added to their tariffs in response to recent customer complaints about the prices and innovative way to pay bills.
They have three main tariffs powershop lite, powershop pro and powershop electrical vehicle tariff. Powershop claim that you can save up to £346 compared the big six based on average usage.
Saving with Powershop pro does require a little bit of effort on the part of the consumer. If you don’t buy power packs then you will be charged the standard rate which is quite expensive with 12.191p unit rate and 17.493p standing charge per day.
Powershop also have the Easy Saver Promise, which is an introductory offer to help you get used to this new way of buying energy, and provide the reassurance that you won’t lose out while you’re trying it out. This offer means that there is a maximum you will pay for your electricity over the first year. It includes both the price per kilowatt hour (£/kWh) and Powershop’s standing charge (£/day).
To achieve the promised price you will need to log into your account on the Powershop website or app regularly, keep your meter reading up-to-date, and buy Powerpacks. Powershop will review your account each quarter and help keep you on track. If you have paid more than the promised price, your Powershop account will be credited so that you know you won’t blow your budget.
The prices will vary depending on where you live in the 13 different pricing regions, your usage and the insulation in your home.
Powershop prefers that you pay by direct debit and all of their billing is done by email and on the online portal. There is no discount for online billing.
If you are on the Powershop Pro tariff and you use more energy than you’ve bought with the powerpacks, Powershop will send you an email telling you by how much you have overspent by and give you the opportunity to buy more before they charge you at the standard price. If you don’t do anything, when you are billed it will be done at the standard rate.
To see all the powerpacks you have bought you can view your account summary online under the Transactions tab. If you are on Powershop Lite tariff then you will be billed normally and won’t have to buy any of the powerpacks.
The first year price promise is a great guarantee for new customers and should help them while they are getting used to the system. However, if you are struggling to keep up with payments it is important that you contact Powershop UK as soon as possible so that they can help you with your payments and keep you on track.
Their fuel mix is made up of 79.7% gas, 18% renewables, 1% coal, 0.9% nuclear and 0.4% other energy. This means that they are using considerably less coal and nuclear energy than the UK average and that they keep their carbon dioxide emissions down at 298g per kWh and their radioactive waste at 0.00006g per kWh.
Customers on the Powershop Pro tariff are expected to give their meter readings at a much higher frequency than normal. In fact, Powershop recommend that you take your readings once a day and submit them either through the online portal or through the mobile app. This makes sure than your billing is as accurate as possible.
As each of the powerpacks offered are tailored to each customer’s usage the more accurate your readings are, the greater your savings will be. Although the process is very quick and easy and doesn’t take more than a few minutes, some customers may find this excessive and prefer to submit their meters once a month which is the usual average.
At the moment Powershop are unable to say when they will begin to introduce smart meters for their customers and whether these meters will be SMETS1, the first generation of smart meters, or SMETS2. By 2020 all energy companies must make sure that all of their customers have smart meters installed in order to fulfil new government guidelines.
If you are a customer who already has a smart meter you can still switch, but should note that you will lose the functionality of your smart meter which will go back to being a normal or “dumb” meter. This means that you will have to return to doing meter readings manually.
If you are moving home you can contact Powershop on their website or on the app up to three days after you move out to give them your final meter readings. This is something that you must remember to do before you move house in order to close your account and so that they can pay you your final bill or get a refund if their estimation was off.
Remember that the one year guarantee scheme only applies if you stay with the company for the first 12 months. If you move away before that time, and have spent more than your estimate, you won’t have this money refunded to you.
At the same time, if you wish to stay with them, they can set up the supply for your new home before you move in, making sure that you don’t end up paying more than you should.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
The Warm Home Discount scheme is a programme backed by the UK government to assist in paying for your energy bills. Customers can get up to £140 discounted from their energy bills during the period of October to April.
Powershop Energy doesn’t currently participate in this scheme as it is only available to suppliers with over 250,000 customers. However, some customers might find that they will save more than £140 simply by switching to Powershop as they are still considerably cheaper than the big six suppliers.
Powershop Energy doesn’t currently offer business tariffs as it is focusing on the domestic market. However, there are a variety of business-only suppliers such as Haven Power, who deal only with businesses and also supply renewable energy. Smart Energy GB also offers electricity supply for businesses that want to be especially eco-conscious that can be customised according to renewable energy source. This means that a business can claim to be 100% wind-powered, for example.
Powershop are very transparent about their complaints record and clearly mark how you can complain on their website. Powershop UK have a decent claims resolution record. From April to June 2018 they had a total of 171 complaints of which 22 were resolved in less than 24 hours and 156 resolved within 8 weeks. In this period from 100,000 customers they had 698 complaints in total.
Of course, if you have a problem with Powershop UK you can contact them to start a complaints procedure.
Phone themYou can speak to one of their Customer Service Team on the phone 0808 250 7773 who will be there to help 9:00-17:00 Monday-Friday and Saturday 9:00-17:00.
Email them Send an email to their Customer Services Team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Or write to themPowershop Complaints
252 – 260 Broad Street
When you contact their customer service they will try to resolve your problem by providing you with an apology, action and compensation if they feel that is appropriate. If one of their customer service agents can’t resolve your problem then you can “escalate” your complaints to one of the dedicated customer service managers who will try to resolve your case as quickly as possible.
Usually, in these cases, they will aim to resolve your case in under 8 weeks. If your complaint isn’t resolved in 8 weeks you can ask for a “deadlock” letter and take your complaint to the energy ombudsman who will intervene on your behalf.
Powershop Energy is really well connected. You can contact them by phone, email, post, social media or via their app. To check out their current deals on tariffs, you can visit their website to sign up.
If you'd like to contact Powershop Energy for general enquiries or for complaints then you can contact them on the customer services telephone number below or login to your account. We have also had good experiences chatting with their customer service agents via Facebook.
Powershop Contact Number
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
0330 041 4902
*Monday to Friday: 9am-8pm
9th Floor Quayside Tower
252-260 Broad Street