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Four out of 10 households in Singapore switched to new power retailer

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FORTY per cent of Singapore households have flipped the switch off on electricity provider SP Services and tapped one of 12 electricity retailers to power up their homes as at end-August this year.

FORTY per cent of Singapore households have flipped the switch off on electricity provider SP Services and tapped one of 12 electricity retailers to power up their homes as at end-August this year. That has helped shrink their power bills by 20-30 per cent, according to the latest update by the industry regulator.

The top three OEM (Open Electricity Market) retailers who have snagged the biggest market share for residential consumers under Singapore’s OEM are Keppel Electric (27 per cent), Geneco (21.4 per cent) and iSwitch (13.1 per cent) according to the Energy Market Authority (EMA) in a statement issued on Tuesday.

EMA’s measured freeing up of the electricity market under the OEM -  soft launched in Jurong back in April 2018 and progressively rolled out across the nation from November 2018 to May 2019 - provides Singapore households a way to save on electricity bills through plenty more options of electricity retailers other than the incumbent provider SP Services. 

That in turn, has seen electricity retailers jostling to grab market share with sweeteners ranging from credit card rebates to free iPads and shopping vouchers. Some, like retailer Red Dot Power, which was part of the OEM's soft launch in Jurong, dropped out while observers expect more consolidation afoot given the competitive landscape.

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As part of the rollout, EMA said it conducted a consumer satisfaction survey to gauge the service performance of the OEM retailers; the survey was participated by over 10,000 households who switched retailers between November 2018 and February 2019.

In terms of overall satisfaction, Ohm Energy, Sunseap Energy and Tuas Power received the highest rating - four out of five stars, according to a rating system developed by EMA based on consumers’ responses in the survey. EMA said the ratings will be updated every six months.

“Apart from price, we encourage consumers to consider the satisfaction ratings for retailers in their decision making,” said EMA chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun in the statemet.

“We also hope this rating system will motivate retailers to continually improve their products and services for the benefit of consumers,” he added.

The survey results were encouraging with a majority or 85 per cent of the residential consumers satisfied with the level of service provided by their retailer.

Almost all or 98 per cent found the process of switching to a retailer easy and a similar majority said that their retailers had presented their offers accurately.

Nine in 10 respondents compared price plans across different retailers before making a decision with most of them using price comparison websites to shop for their price plan. More than half of them signed up with the retailers at roadshows.
There also appeared to be high awareness among consumers of electricity rates, contract start and end dates, and details of their security deposit. However, other contractual terms such as late payment charges and early termination charges did not seem to get adequate attention, according to the survey findings.

“As part of the contracting process, EMA requires each OEM retailer to ensure that consumers read and acknowledge the fact sheet, which includes these important details,” the regulator stressed.