18% of consumers in Zone 2 switch to electricity retailer

The Energy Market Authority said that the switch rates in Singapore are higher than the single-digit first-year switch rates seen in other countries such as Japan, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The Open Electricity Market roll-out will cover th
The Energy Market Authority said that the switch rates in Singapore are higher than the single-digit first-year switch rates seen in other countries such as Japan, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. The Open Electricity Market roll-out will cover the whole of Singapore by May 1.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Higher early switch rates seen in Zone 2 estates than Zone 1 and Jurong soft launch, says EMA

Nearly one in five consumers eligible to switch to an electricity retailer from Jan 1 has chosen to do so, said the Energy Market Authority (EMA).

A total of 18 per cent of consumers in Zone 2 estates such as Bishan, Sengkang and Punggol have chosen to buy electricity from a retailer instead of remaining with SP Group, in the zone-by-zone roll-out of the Open Electricity Market.

Consumers in Zone 1, who are mainly in the north-west of Singapore, have been allowed to switch to a retailer since November last year, while those in Jurong had the option since April 2018. Consumers in Zone 2 had the option from Jan 1.

"Based on the switch rates in the first month of each zone, Zone 2 has seen higher early switch rates than Zone 1 and the soft launch in Jurong," said EMA yesterday.

EMA said the nationwide launch of the open market is progressing well, adding that more than 700,000 consumers in Zones 1 and 2 can now choose from more electricity retailers and enjoy competitive pricing and innovative offers.

As of end-January, about 40 per cent of consumers in Jurong and 25 per cent of households in Zone 1 had switched to a retailer. The authority said these switch rates are higher than the single-digit first-year switch rates seen in other countries such as Japan, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Consumers residing in Zone 3 - mostly in eastern Singapore, with postal codes starting with the numbers 34 to 52, and 81 - will have the option to switch from March 1. The whole of Singapore will be covered by May 1.

  • 40%

  • Percentage of consumers in Jurong who had switched to a retailer as of end-January, compared with 25 per cent of Zone 1 households, that are mainly in the north-west.

"The Open Electricity Market is about giving consumers choice. While some consumers have chosen to switch, others have decided to continue buying from SP Group," said Mr Ngiam Shih Chun, chief executive of EMA.

"Some are also taking a wait-and-see approach as there is no deadline to switching," he added.

Consumers who have made the switch have enjoyed significant savings. They pay an electricity rate about 20 per cent to 30 per cent lower than the regulated tariff, said EMA.

 
 
 
 

As of Feb 4, EMA's 13 approved retailers offer rates from 17.66 cents per kWh to 23.01 cents per kWh for their fixed price plans, and discounts from 14.5 per cent to 25 per cent for plans offering a discount off the regulated tariff.

The take-up rate for the fixed price plan is about six times more than the discount off the regulated tariff plan, an EMA spokesman said.

Surveys commissioned by EMA showed that 96 per cent of residents in Jurong and Zones 1 and 2 have heard about the Open Electricity Market initiative, with three in four residents taking some action, including seeking information online and discussing it with friends and families.

Half of the residents surveyed indicated that they are open to switching to a retailer.

The majority of these retailers have gone digital and consumers are able to sign up for services online, EMA said.

The survey findings also showed that while consumers hope to see lower electricity bills, they want more flexible pricing plans that cater to their needs as well.

These include deals with third parties such as banks, telecommunications and home insurance companies, which offer value-added services and products.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2019, with the headline '18% of consumers in Zone 2 switch to electricity retailer'. Print Edition | Subscribe