In New Zealand, online electricity retailer Electric Kiwi has signed a deal with a paperless billing company in a bid to continue its offering of low price power.
Electric Kiwi, which is a 100% online retailer specifically targeted at smart meter customers, will capitalise on payment company DebitSuccess’ billing technology, according to New Zealand newspaper Voxy.
The paperless billing solution will also improve Electric Kiwi’s security in managing customer data, a move that DebitSuccess estimates will encourage recurring online purchases of electricity.
Electric Kiwi, a digital retailer
The 'online-only' approach to billing forms part of Electric Kiwi's strategy to offer some of the lowest electricity prices in the New Zealand market, said managing director Julian Kardos.
"We saw a gap for a company that could maximise technology to provide cheaper electricity.
"Digital readings from smart meters means we’ve been able to design a platform that brings every single aspect of electricity retailing online - from signing up and connecting through us, to automatic meter readings, online accounts, customer service and of course, billing."
Mr Kardos added: "Using DebitSuccess’ billing technology is a very efficient way for us to manage and process payments, which ultimately means we are able to provide lower power prices for our customers."
Electric Kiwi offers customers one free hour of power per day as part of its marketing drive to recruit smart meter households.
New Zealand smart meters
The development comes as New Zealand records an increase in smart meter adoption, which has resulted in consumers reporting decreases in electricity bills.
In Q1 2015, Metering reported customers of utility Contact Energy in the Marlborough region experiencing monthly bills drop from NZD600 (US$465) in winter and NZD400 (US$300) in summer to less than NZD200 (US$154) due to smart billing.
One householder interviewed attributed the reduction in energy costs to more accurate meter readings.
Meanwhile, other electricity distributors and retailers are gearing up smart meter rollouts.
Genesis Energy integrated a new smart metering system into its grid and Contact Energy installed 500 units by Q1 2015.
Trustpower also announced plans to begin a pilot early this year.
Trustpower's community relations manager Graeme Purches said contractors would begin meter installation from mid-2015, but they would not be installed in Marlborough until 2016.