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Most Singapore residential consumers satisfied with service by power retailers: survey

SINCE the nationwide rollout of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) two years ago, almost half of 1.4 million household accounts have switched to buying electricity from a retailer other than the incumbent provider SP Services, with at least nine in 10 satisfied with the service rendered.

This is according to the latest consumer satisfaction survey (CSS) conducted by the Energy Market Authority (EMA).

Among respondents, there continues to be a high level of satisfaction with retailers' service - 97 per cent before signing up or contract renewal, and 91 per cent after.

The poll also showed that consumers had renewed contracts with their existing retailers due to the satisfactory service provided (57 per cent) and attractive price plans (53 per cent).

Nine in 10 respondents compared price plans across different retailers before making a switch, while only one in two did so for those who renewed their contracts.

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Ngiam Shih Chun, chief executive of EMA, noted that it is important for consumers to compare retailers' price plans and their ratings when signing up or renewing their contract. "Consumers should visit the website to compare the standard price plans from all OEM retailers," he said.

More than 7,000 households took part in EMA's latest survey.

The rating system for the retailers, which was developed by the industry regulator, is updated every six months based on the CSS results. It reflects the overall satisfaction level for each OEM retailer.

Four of the 12 retailers saw their ratings improve in this latest survey, namely Best Electricity, PacificLight Energy, Senoko Energy and Sunseap Energy.

Based on the latest CSS responses, the top retailer is Diamond Electric with a five-star rating. Other highly ranked retailers include Ohm Energy, Senoko Energy, Tuas Power and Union Power, which scored 4.5 out of five stars each. (see amendment note)

As at end-October, about 48 per cent of households have switched to buying electricity from OEM retailers; 43 per cent are on fixed price plans and 5 per cent are on discount-off-tariff plans, EMA noted.

The OEM retailers with the largest share of residential consumers are Keppel Electric (23 per cent), Geneco (21 per cent), and iSwitch and Tuas Power (13 per cent each).

Andrew Koscharsky, iSwitch's chief commercial officer, told The Business Times on Thursday that fixed price plans create a locked-in price level, while discount-off tariff plans fluctuate with oil prices.

"As global oil and electricity prices are currently quite low, iSwitch believes that fixed price contracts provide the best value proposition for households," he said.

He added that EMA has succeeded in building a highly competitive market in Singapore and that consumers these days also look for hassle-free sign-up and service.

When asked about iSwitch's future plans, Mr Koscharsky noted that the company continues to embrace the government's sustainability theme and is exploring electric vehicles and solar projects, among other things. Nonetheless, its main priority is to retain its existing 100,000 customers via "low-priced electricity", he said.

The liberalisation of Singapore's power sector under the OEM began with a soft launch in Jurong back in April 2018 and went full throttle nationwide in May 2019. Last October, EMA noted that four out of 10 households in Singapore had switched to a new power retailer.

Amendment note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Ohm Energy and Senoko Energy scored four out of five stars. They have a rating of 4.5 stars instead, along with two other retailers, Tuas Power and Union Power. 

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