EMA will continue to safeguard consumers' interests

20 Apr 2018

We thank Mr Tan Yi Han for his letter (EMA needs to be more involved in Open Electricity Market; April 13).

The Open Electricity Market (OEM) gives consumers more choices and flexibility in their electricity purchases. This will incentivise the electricity retailers to offer more competitive pricing and innovative offers.

Similar to other competitive markets, electricity retailers can market their plans and vary their offers in response to market conditions.

To help consumers choose the most appropriate plan, consumers can learn more about the OEM at http://www.openelectricitymarket.sg. They can compare the standard price plans offered by different retailers at http://compare.openelectricitymarket.sg. The Energy Market Authority (EMA) will also hold an OEM roadshow this weekend at Westgate mall.

We assure consumers that EMA has and will continue to actively educate consumers and safeguard consumers' interests.

To protect consumers from aggressive marketing tactics, EMA has banned door-to-door sales or marketing activities at or near residential premises. We will not hesitate to act against retailers if they engage in dishonest marketing practices.

Mr Tan also suggested that consumers be allowed to make the switch online at the OEM website and for SP Group to continue providing billing services. Some retailers do offer online sign-ups, while others have worked with SP Group to allow their customers to continue receiving a single bill for electricity and other utilities.

As part of the switching process, consumers are encouraged to take their own meter readings on the last day before the switch takes effect, and send the readings to SP Group via SMS, Whatsapp or e-mail.

However, this is not compulsory as SP Group can estimate their meter readings.

We will continue to gather feedback from Jurong consumers to enhance the OEM.

Soh Sai Bor (Mr)
Assistant Chief Executive (Economic Regulation)
Energy Market Authority


EMA needs to be more involved in Open Electricity Market - Tan Yi han
13 April 2018

The Open Electricity Market (OEM) has promised to boost competition between electricity retailers.

However, the Energy Market Authority's (EMA's) hands-off approach towards the OEM has resulted in inefficiencies, confusion and complications.

Retailers have free rein to market their plans to consumers. Some retailers have resorted to gimmicks, like free electricity and cash rebates. This may not benefit customers in the long run, and serve to confuse and encourage wasteful habits.

In addition, the retailer who gets the most business may not be the cheapest or the most eco-friendly; just the one with the most marketing savvy.

To promote competition on the things that matter, such as price and eco-friendliness, marketing should be done only through the EMA. It can hold roadshows to reach out to consumers and showcase all the plans in an objective and transparent way. Retailers also should not be expected to handle customer applications and the subsequent billing.

The process has become complex and requires much time and energy. When I was applying, I had to navigate through three websites before realising I had to go to a physical office to do the paperwork.

I am also expected to take a photo of the electricity meter on a specific date and send it through WhatsApp to SP Group. Subsequently, I have to deal with two utility bills instead of one.

The EMA should allow consumers to make the switch online at the OEM website. Those who are less tech-savvy should be allowed to fill out a form that can be included in the utilities bill. Billing should continue to be done through SP Group.

 

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