Budget 2013: More companies will be eligible to buy electricity from open market in 2014

More companies will be able to buy electricity on the open market next year, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran during the Singapore Budget 2013 on Monday.

He was responding to Member of Parliament Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC), who pointed out that many households are concerned about electricity bills and suggested that households be able to buy electricity from the open retail market. Currently, only the 9,000 or so large users who consume more than 10 megawatt-hours on average each month can do so.

While 1.2 million electricity consumers, including households, are not yet able to get their electricity this way, said Mr Iswaran, companies which use more than 8 MWh a month will be able to do so from April 1 next year, and those which use more than 4 MWh from October 1 next year.

And companies that might have many accounts - such as retail outlets in many locations - are eligible if their total electricity use across all those accounts meets the threshold, he added. For instance, the Home-Fix DIY chain is now eligible.

With the new measures, some 20,000 consumers with 70,000 accounts will benefit, up from the current 9,000 consumers with 13,000 accounts.

As for households, Mr Iswaran said, the aim is to offer them contestable status too, but several studies are being done to work out what technology might be needed.

"First, we want to be sure that when we embark on this, we are able to do it in a systematic way and extend it to all the households. Second, that when we do so, we also have a clear idea of the capacity in the system at the back end," he said.

Join ST's WhatsApp Channel and get the latest news and must-reads.