Genesis Energy, biggest utility by customers, to quit door-knocking

Chris Watney, Genesis Energy general manager marketing
Genesis Energy 12-month price history (NZX.com)

Genesis Energy [NZX: GNE], the biggest New Zealand power company by number of customers, says it will stop sending its sales force door-to-door after a survey showed the vast majority of kiwis don't like being bugged at home.

Genesis, the last of the state-owned power companies to be sold down, had about 655,580 customers as at March 31, including 530,718 electricity customers, or 27 percent of the market. The shares last traded at $1.845 on the NZX, giving investors in the initial public offering last months a 19 percent gain and valuing the company at $1.8 billion.

"Research commissioned by Genesis Energy showed that an overwhelming 81 percent of Kiwis don't like door to door salespeople coming to their home," Chris Watney, general manager marketing, said in a statement.

Genesis has been wearing out shoe leather, knocking on doors along with rivals such as Contact Energy, Todd Corp's Nova, and Meridian Energy to woo customers after the government took steps to encourage competition. That includes the whatsmynumber.org.nz website, a campaign run by the Electricity Authority which allows consumers to compare prices and switch companies.

Genesis Energy hired polling company Perceptive Research to survey 1,015 New Zealanders last month, the utility said today. The results showed more than 63 percent found the practice "both annoying and intrusive." The survey also showed that some kiwi households are being visited by more than 36 door-to-door sales people a year.

(BusinessDesk)

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