Ensure electricity suppliers' registration complies with PDPA

Recently, I decided to make the switch to Senoko Energy as my electricity retailer.

However, when I reached the registration page, I realised that it is compulsory for new customers to consent to Senoko handling their personal details not only for operational matters related to the new account, but also for it to share the information with third-party agents for marketing purposes.

This clearly violates the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA), which states that organisations cannot refuse to provide a service to an individual who objects to the collection, use or disclosure of personal data for marketing purposes, unless it is reasonable to do so.

Senoko should explain how giving consent to it and its agents for marketing purposes is reasonable for a person who wants only to switch to a cheaper electricity supplier.

Senoko should emulate Sembcorp Power, which has separate check boxes for customers to give consent for using their information for operational matters, which is compulsory, and marketing purposes, which is not.

As the governing body, the Energy Market Authority should also instruct all players to incorporate the PDPA into their contracts and ensure their websites do not contravene the Act.

Sim Eng Cheong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2018, with the headline 'Ensure electricity suppliers' registration complies with PDPA'. Print Edition | Subscribe