In a move to gradually liberalize Singapore’s existing electricity market, consumers would have the option to purchase electricity from any retailer besides Singapore Power (SP) group with residents and businesses in the Jurong being the first to do so. Jurong was chosen because its demographic is representative of the Singapore population, according to Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA).
Following its announcement on Friday, October 20, approximately 108,000 households and 9,500 business accounts in Jurong will have the opportunity to do so in a soft launch from April 2018. The option would be gradually rolled out to the rest of Singapore in the second half of 2018.
EMA also plans to introduce an online platform by the second half of 2018 that would assist consumers in comparing prices across the various electricity retailers.
Mr Ng Wai Choong, Chief Executive of EMA, said “Our main objective of introducing the Open Electricity Market is to promote greater competition in the electricity market. With competition, consumers stand to benefit from competitive pricing, enhanced service standards and innovative packages from electricity retailers.”
He added, “Consumers can be assured that the reliability of their electricity supply will not be affected by their choice of retailers, as they will continue to receive electricity supply through the national power grid operated by SP Group.”
For the trial in Jurong, eligible households and businesses will be informed by the EMA by March 2018. This includes households and business premises with postal codes starting with 60, 61, 62, 63 and 64, which covers the Boon Lay, Tuas, Pioneer, Jurong East and Jurong West areas.
However, for consumers whom prefer not to switch electricity suppliers, they can stay with SP Group to buy electricity at the regulated tariff. In addition, SP Group is also making wholesale electricity available to consumers, via half-hourly wholesale electricity prices, which could be cheaper depending on the time of day.
Since 2001, EMA has progressively opened up the electricity market to competition. This liberalisation of the electricity market aims to promote the supply of competitively-priced electricity and allow greater consumer choice. Currently, businesses with an average monthly electricity consumption of at least 2,000 kWh (equivalent to a monthly electricity bill of at least $400) already have the option of buying electricity from a retailer of their choice or to remain with SP Group.
Besides SP, other electricity retailers include Sunseap, Red Dot Power, Sembcorp, Diamond Energy and Trillian. According to EMA, there are 26 licensed electricity retailers but only 18 are active. Electricity retailers that wish to offer services to consumers during the soft launch or full launch would have to pass requirements set by EMA first. Requirements include the retailer’s operational readiness in terms of IT system, as well as the ability to comply with regulatory requirements to protect the interest of small consumers.
Retailers who meet EMA’s requirements will be notified by early March 2018 and can proceed to participate in the soft launch, said an EMA spokesman.