Singapore

14 electricity retailers authorised to offer plans for Jurong

But residents likely to adopt wait-and-see approach before switching providers

The race for a slice of the Jurong power pie is sizzling up, as electricity retailers prepare to dive into the open electricity market that launches there next month.

The 14 retailers, which have been authorised by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) to offer electricity plans, may start marketing from today.

From April 1, the open electricity market will give 108,000 households and 9,500 businesses in Jurong the opportunity to buy electricity from a retailer of their choice, similar to consumers choosing among mobile telcos.

An EMA spokesman said: "Consumers will no longer be restricted to buying electricity from SP Group at the regulated tariff, and can stand to benefit from more competitive pricing and innovative offers from electricity retailers."

Jurong residents interviewed by The Straits Times were either unaware of the opening up of the market or said that they would wait and see before switching.

Jurong resident and retiree Doris Yeo, 71, said: "In the beginning, there will always be teething problems. I won't switch quickly until everything has stabilised. And if it's cheaper, then why not?"

Retailers said they would not be too concerned if the initial response was lukewarm.

Sembcorp Utilities' senior vice-president Lim Yeow Keong said that in energy markets overseas such as Australia and Japan, consumers adopted a wait-and-see approach.

"Similar to Japan, we expect about 5 to 8 per cent of consumers to make the switch in the first year," he said.

Dr Sanjay Kuttan, programme director at Nanyang Technological University's Energy Research Institute, said there are too many retailers and the number is likely to shrink after a period of consolidation.

"As a consumer, you are guaranteed no supply disruption because that is not in the retailers' hands. It is guaranteed by the power system, which will stay secure," he said.

The EMA spokesman said consumers can compare the price plans by visiting http://compare.openelectricitymarket.sg. An information booklet will also be sent to eligible consumers from today.

EMA is also holding an Open Electricity Market roadshow with all 14 retailers on April 21 and 22 at Westgate mall in Jurong.

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