2018 LPG Suppliers Compared
Compare bottled gas suppliers in New Zealand. Elgas, Genesis and Contact Energy rated on customer satisfaction in Canstar Blue’s 2018 review.
Canstar Blue research finalised in July 2018, published in August 2018.
See our Ratings Methodology.
Elgas leads the way in LPG supply ratings
Liquefied Petroleum Gas – or ‘LPG’ – is used by thousands of New Zealand homes and businesses for heating, cooking and hot water. Unlike natural gas, which is delivered straight to your home through pipes, LPG is delivered in bottles that have to be replaced or refilled from time to time. This means that when it comes to LPG, you don’t just want the best price, you also want a supplier that is both reliable and makes ordering a new gas bottle simple. But short of trying every LPG company, how do you find a supplier that ticks all these boxes? Well, that’s where Canstar Blue can help.
Canstar Blue regularly asks customers to rate their experience with different companies across dozens of products. This year, we asked LPG customers what they consider is important in an LPG supplier and how they rate the company they currently use. After surveying over 300 households, one clear winner emerged, and that’s Elgas.
- Elgas is one of the largest suppliers of LPG in Australia and New Zealand. It took five stars in the all-important overall satisfaction variable, as well as value for money, customer service and bill & cost clarity. Elgas also received four stars for its perceived environmental focus, however it stumbled in its rating for tools and advice.
- Genesis Energy scored four stars for overall satisfaction and all other variables. It performed better than the other suppliers for its tools and advice.
- Contact Energy scored four star for overall satisfaction, value for money, environmental sustainability and bill clarity. Most notably, it received five stars for its customer service.
It can be a little tricky to compare LPG suppliers (which is why we’re here to help). In fact, only 18% of the customers we surveyed say they’ve compared suppliers online. Even if you have shopped around for the best price and service in the past, it’s possible that a better offer has popped up elsewhere that you’re missing out on. Of course, we understand the LPG market can be pretty confusing, so here we will walk you through everything you need to know about LPG to help you find a great deal with a reliable supplier.
Where is LPG available?
Unlike natural (or ‘town’) gas, which is only available on the North Island, LPG is available across most of New Zealand.
LPG v Natural Gas
LPG and natural gas are often confused with one another. While they’re both used for similar purposes – that is predominately cooking, heating and hot water – there are some differences between the two fuel sources.
As mentioned, LPG is delivered in bottles or tanks and customers must order a refill or replacement tank every now and again. Natural gas is delivered straight to your home or business via a large distribution network of pipelines. Charging for natural gas also works similarly to electricity, whereby paying customers have on-demand access to gas and they simply pay for what they use at the end of the billing period. However, the gas pipeline network only extends across the North Island, and even then, not all households has access. In some areas homeowners can organise a piped gas connection but this can be expensive and it could be more affordable to use on LPG instead.
Another point is that natural gas is comprised mostly of methane, while LPG is predominantly hotter and cleaner burning butane and propane. This means that LPG is the gas of choice for many restaurants, cafes and other businesses.
LPG customers can generally expect to pay around $100 to $120 for a 45kg LPG refill, plus about $10 per month in bottle rental fees. That said, the price you pay for LPG will fluctuate from time to time depending on the global market supply, and exchange rates. The international gas price benchmark changes each month, requiring LPG distributors to reevaluate their gas prices with each change. Delivery costs can also vary depending on your location and the distance the supplier must travel to deliver LPG to your home.
As there are so many variables involved in the price of LPG, you will need to get a quote from a potential supplier in order to understand what it might cost you.
LPG retailers like to reward good customers with generous discounts that can be a big help in reducing the cost of your bill. There are at least three types of discount you might come across:
- Prompt payment discount: This is a discount of around 10% to 15% for customers who pay their gas bills in full and on time.
- Direct debit: While less common, some NZ retailers offer a small discount to customers who pay their bill via direct debit.
- Dual fuel discount: Energy providers that supply both electricity and LPG sometimes award customers with a bonus discount when they sign up both services.
List of LPG Companies in New Zealand
Lots of New Zealand homes rely on LPG, meaning there are plenty of suppliers in the market to meet demand. While some providers operate in select areas, others serve customers nationwide. Some of the most notable LPG providers include:
- Contact Energy
- Energy Online
- Nova Energy
- Pulse Energy
Keep in mind that this may not be a comprehensive list of suppliers for your area. Before signing up with one of these companies, consider checking if there’s a local option that offers an even better deal.
New Zealand LPG Providers Compared
Three of New Zealand’s largest gas providers appeared in the 2018 customer satisfaction ratings. In order to be considered in this year’s ratings, a retailer must have received a minimum of 30 survey responses. This year’s ratings included Elgas, Genesis and Contact Energy. Here is a little more information about them.
Elgas provides LPG for homes, businesses and barbecue customers. Elgas offers automatic LPG home delivery, whereby it monitors your usage and schedule deliveries so that you don’t even need to lift a finger. Alternatively, you can sign up for alerts to check your gas usage and you can order a new bottle simply by texting Elgas.
New Elgas customers receive $100 worth of LPG Gas Credits. Elgas provides two 45kg LPG gas bottles linked to a changeover valve. This means that when one tank runs out, the gas switches to the other tank so you’re not left stranded while waiting for a new bottle to replace the empty tank. To sweeten the deal, customers can earn one FlyBuys point for every $20 spent on gas.
Genesis says it is New Zealand’s largest electricity and gas retailer, supplying through its two brands – Genesis and Energy Online. In addition to its electricity and natural gas offers, Genesis also supplies LPG. It has three controlled bottled gas control plans for $90, $120 and $220 per month respectively. This deal gives customers 9, 12 or 24 bottles over a 12 month period, plus customers receive access to the Energy IQ app to order new bottles conveniently. Alternatively, customers can sign up to the ‘bottled gas smart plan’, which gives customers one free 45kg bottle of LPG. Again customers on this deal receive access to Energy IQ.
Contact Energy is an electricity, gas and broadband retailer that also offers LPG products. Contact Energy says it has you covered with 30 supply depots nationwide. Contact delivers a Home Pack of two 45kg gas bottles with a regulator to switch the tanks when one is empty. Customers can also use the Contact Gas App, which allows customers to conveniently order a gas refill via a mobile app.
How to get the best deal on gas
Even if you’re happy with your current LPG supplier, it doesn’t mean you can’t do even better. This report has highlighted that there are plenty of options on the LPG market, with some major stand outs – particularly Elgas. But finding the right provider is all about understanding your own needs and finding a retailer that matches. Some things you should look out for include:
- Price: Naturally you want to minimise what you pay for LPG. When comparing providers, it’s in your interests to ask for a quote to see which provider can give you the best price. Remember that LPG prices may change every month, so be sure to regularly compare to make sure you’re still getting a good price.
- Service: It’s reassuring to know that your provider has your back when things go wrong. Some suppliers, particularly the large ones, have 24/7 phone support to assist with your gas enquiries. Also, you may want to look for gas retailers with mobile apps that make it easy to manage your gas supply.
- Contract terms: If a deal looks too good to be true, then be sure to read all the fine-print. In particular, keep an eye out for terms that lock you in with a provider for one or more years, otherwise it could cost you if you decide to leave.
- Industry knowledge: You need an LPG supplier that can help deliver the best service for your home. When receiving a quote, don’t hesitate to ask questions, both for your own knowledge and to ensure they understand LPG and your property’s needs.
Now that you understand a little more about LPG and have some insight into what other customers have to say about their supplier, it’s time to get out there and compare. Good luck!
Frequently Asked Questions
Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers who use bottled LPG gas for their home, in this case, 304 New Zealanders.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.