Are there sales guidelines for electricity retailers?

The Open Electricity Market is being rolled out and is still new to many customers.
The Open Electricity Market is being rolled out and is still new to many customers. PHOTO: ST FILE

At a roadshow organised by an electricity retailer, a sales representative told us the retailer would merely be in charge of billing, while everything else would be handled by SP Group.

It was reassuring to know that we would still be getting our electricity from SP Group under this arrangement.

We were given a brochure and nothing else. The salesman collected our information after we indicated our interest, tapped away at his iPad, then told us to read the e-mail that would be sent to us later.

Only later did we realise that we had signed up for a three-year "fixed-rate" contract that we could not back out of.

We had not been given a fact sheet, which we later realised is mandatory, or any terms and conditions. The salesperson also had not verified our identities by checking against photo identification.

We later came across another electricity retailer which explained to us how the Open Electricity Market (OEM) works, along with the company's terms and conditions.

It seems odd that these two retailers differed so much in how they explained things to prospective customers. When someone signs a contract with a telco, his identity has to be verified, and he can read through the terms and conditions before choosing whether to sign up.

Given that the OEM is being rolled out and is still new to many customers, can the relevant authorities explain what is required of electricity retailers when it comes to marketing materials, sales representation and the sign-up procedure?

Lee Mei Ling (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 26, 2019, with the headline 'Are there sales guidelines for electricity retailers?'. Print Edition | Subscribe