All households, firms to get choice of power retailer

About 1.4 million households and business accounts will be able to buy electricity from 12 different retailers.
About 1.4 million households and business accounts will be able to buy electricity from 12 different retailers.PHOTO: ST FILE

They can pick from 12 more retailers as energy market is liberalised in phases from November

From November, the energy market will be steadily liberalised across the island, culminating in 1.4 million more Singapore households and businesses being able to choose their electricity supply from 12 more retailers.

The Open Electricity Market, which will cover the entire country by May next year, could see consumers save around 20 per cent or even more on their electricity bills.

The launch of the open market was announced yesterday by the Energy Market Authority (EMA), with Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing saying that the rest of Singapore is now ready for liberalisation after a positive pilot in Jurong which kicked off in April.

"We have done this carefully and progressively, and have collated our experiences to make sure that when we roll out the market to the rest of the country, we will face the least problems," he said.

The open market will be rolled out progressively in four phases over six months. Areas with postal codes which begin with 58 to 78 will join the open market on Nov 1. These include parts of Clementi, Bukit Batok and Upper Thomson.

Areas with postal codes starting with 53 to 57, 79 and 80, and 82 and 83, will be next on Jan 1; followed by 34 to 52, and 81, on March 1; then those from 01 to 33 on May 1.

Before every phase, each of which will affect 350,000 accounts, consumers will receive a notification package and information booklet. They can also compare prices at the website compare.openelectricitymarket.sg

 
 
 

The 12 retailers include those which generate power, such as Senoko Energy, and resellers such as Ohm Energy.

EMA director for market development and surveillance Dorcas Tan said the progressive roll-out was to allow retailers and the authorities to focus their resources and better fix teething issues.

Feedback from the Jurong pilot, which involved 108,000 households and 9,500 businesses, helped EMA fine-tune its plan. The option of differentiated pricing for peak and off-peak periods will not be offered as it was picked by less than 1 per cent of those who decided to go with a new electricity supplier.

What stood out from the pilot, however, was how more than 30 per cent of eligible Jurong accounts switched their electricity retailers. Annual take-up rates in other parts of the world tended to be in the single digits, said EMA chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun.

"Those who switched paid an electricity rate which was on average about 20 per cent lower than the regulated tariff," he added. "We now hope to bring the benefits of competitive pricing and innovative offers to the rest of Singapore."

He stressed that households can choose to stay with SP Group, which manages the national grid and sells electricity at a regulated tariff which is reviewed every quarter.

Sales manager Marcos Ong, 26, who lives in a three-room Jurong flat with his wife and younger brother, said: "I have seen savings of up to 25 per cent off my monthly electricity bill since switching to Keppel Electric."

Four retailers who took part in the Jurong pilot - Diamond Electric, Red Dot Power, Sun Electric and Sunseap - will not be part of the nationwide launch for varying reasons.

They will continue honouring the contracts to the 500 or so accounts they now have in Jurong, and will be able to join the open electricity market at a later point.

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Correction note: This article has been edited for clarity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2018, with the headline 'All households, firms to get choice of power retailer'. Print Edition | Subscribe