The truth about buying electricity from a retailer
Here are the answers to some of your nagging questions about the Open Electricity Market
Photo: Energy Market Authority
Everyone is familiar with retail therapy. You shop around for an item you like, compare your options and buy the one that best suits your needs.
The Open Electricity Market (OEM) applies this idea of choice to the buying of electricity. Launched in November last year, the OEM is being progressively rolled out to all consumers across Singapore. Eventually, more than 1.4 million households and businesses will have the option of buying electricity at a price plan that best meets their needs from a retailer besides SP Group.
This gives you greater flexibility, while still using the same reliable electricity supply from Singapore’s national power grid. The OEM aims to offer you more choices, with retailers offering different price plans and incentives to entice consumers.
To help you better understand the OEM, we debunk some of the myths and answer some common questions.
I have always been buying electricity from SP Group. Do I now need to switch to a retailer?
The good news is, you don’t have to switch to a retailer in the OEM if you don’t want to. If you think SP Group is still your best option after reviewing your alternatives, you can remain with them and buy electricity at the regulated tariff.
If you decide to buy from a retailer, you are free to do so at any time. There is no deadline to switch.
Will my electricity supply be disrupted if I switch to buy electricity from a retailer?
No. Under the OEM, you may choose to buy electricity from different retailers, but the supply of electricity does not change. SP Group will continue to operate the national power grid and deliver electricity reliably to all households, as it has been doing for many years.
My electricity bill went up after switching to a retailer. Why?
There are a few reasons why this may happen. Firstly, electricity meters are read once every two months by SP Group, such as during odd months like January or March and so on. In other months, an estimate is made of your power usage based on historical data.
An underestimated reading will be carried over and reflected in the following month’s bill; reflecting the actual higher amount used. This is why your July bill may be higher than your June bill, for example.
Another reason could be related to when you switch to a retailer. Depending on the date of your switch, the first bill under your new plan with your retailer may be pro-rated to less than a month. This means the following month’s bill will be higher as it covers a full month of electricity consumption.
Finally, usage tends to increase during certain periods of the year – such as during the school holidays when there are more people at home, or months when the weather is usually hotter. This could explain why your bill goes up during certain months.
Will I continue to enjoy the competitive rates that retailers currently offer in the longer term?
While one of the benefits of the Open Electricity Market is competitive pricing, do bear in mind that retailers set their rates based on current market conditions such as the level of electricity demand and supply or the intensity of competition in the market.
These factors may change over time and retailers may adjust their rates (or otherwise) after your current contract ends. It is not a given that the rates you enjoy now will always remain the same.
Will my electricity supply be cut off if my retailer exits the electricity market?
Do not worry, there will be no disruption to your electricity supply at any time regardless of what happens to your retailer. You will continue to receive your electricity through the national power grid operated by SP Group.
If your retailer is going to exit the market, they are required to find another retailer to take over your account on the same terms and conditions. If they are unable to find a replacement or if you reject their proposed transfer, you will be transferred to SP Group to buy electricity at the regulated tariff. You are free to change to a new retailer thereafter if you wish to do so.
You are also not required to pay any early termination charges, and your security deposit will be refunded to you. Your retailer will make the refund after any outstanding charges owing to them have been deducted