Nearly half of residential consumers switched to buying electricity from retailers

Consumers are becoming more discerning and are actively searching for better plans in the electricity market. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Close to half of all residential consumers have switched to buying electricity from a retailer since the electricity market in Singapore was fully liberalised two years ago, the Energy Market Authority said on Friday (May 7).

Currently, about 49 per cent of all residential consumers buy electricity from a retailer, with 43 per cent on fixed price plans and 5 per cent on discount-off-tariff plans.

Under a fixed price plan, consumers pay a constant rate throughout the contract duration, for example, 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.

With a discount-off-tariff plan, consumers enjoy a fixed discount off the prevailing regulated tariff throughout the contract duration.

The Open Electricity Market (OEM), which gives consumers a choice of their electricity provider, was progressively rolled out nationwide from November 2018 to May 2019.

Previously, SP Group was the only supplier of electricity to households in Singapore.

Out of the 12 retailers here, Keppel Electric currently has the biggest share, with about 22 per cent of the residential market, followed by Geneco at about 20 per cent, and Tuas Power at about 15 per cent.

The EMA also released findings from its Consumer Satisfaction Survey (CSS).

It showed that consumers are becoming more discerning and are actively searching for better plans instead of opting to automatically renew their existing price plan.

The survey, which involved more than 2,500 households, showed that only 28 per cent automatically renewed with their current retailer, down from 49 per cent who indicated they did so in the previous survey report in October last year.

Nine in 10 households also compared price plans across different retailers before making a switch. Compared to those who renewed with their retailer, only six in 10 compared price plans.

EMA chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun said: "We encourage consumers to compare retailers' price plans and their ratings when signing up or renewing their contract to find an offer that best suits their needs."

He added that consumers can go online to compare the standard price plans offered by all the retailers here.

Of the 90 per cent who compared price plans across different retailers before making the switch, 73 per cent used price comparison websites as the main mode to compare offers from different retailers.

About 96 per cent of the households surveyed also found the process of switching retailers, or renewing with their retailer, easy.

Businessman Anthony Tan, who switched over from Keppel Electric to Senoko Energy in March this year, found the process seamless and convenient.

The switch will see him saving at least $2 per month, but he will enjoy an additional rebate of $50 due to promotional offers.

The 60-year-old, who learnt about Senoko Energy's price plans through advertisements, said: "The difference per month may not seem like much but over a two-year contract, the difference does add up to quite a bit."

Findings also revealed that more retailers received a high approval rating from consumers, based on a rating system with five stars being the highest level of satisfaction.

Six retailers saw a rating of 4.5 stars and above, an increase from four retailers a year ago.

Out of the 12 here, only one retailer, Sunseap Energy, saw a rating of five stars.

EMA said these ratings can be found on the OEM website and will be updated every six months.

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