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Open electricity market to be extended to rest of Singapore from Q4 2018

Open electricity market to be extended to rest of Singapore from Q4 2018

The pilot test of the Open Electricity Market – an initiative by the Government to open up the power market to competition – was rolled out in Jurong in April 2018. (Photo: Tang See Kit)

SINGAPORE: The extension of a fully liberalised power market to the rest of Singapore is set to take place in the fourth quarter of this year, according to Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing.

At the moment, only 108,000 household and 9,500 business accounts in Jurong have the option to switch to an electricity retailer other than SP Group, under a pilot launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) put in place since Apr 1. 

Authorities earlier said that a nationwide rollout will take place in the second half of this year.

Noting that this timeline remains on track, Mr Chan said more details will be shared in the coming months.

The information was part of a written response to a parliamentary question filed by Member of Parliament Desmond Choo on Monday (Aug 6) about the Government's plans to further liberalise the energy market.

The progressive introduction of competition into the local power market is one of the steps taken by the Energy Market Authority of Singapore (EMA) to improve price competitiveness here, added Mr Chan.

Given Singapore’s reliance on imported fuel to meet its energy needs, electricity prices in Singapore are largely swayed by movements in the global energy markets. Natural gas accounts for about 95 per cent of local electricity generation. 

He said: “EMA has progressively introduced competition into our electricity market since the 1990s, so that companies would strive to be more cost-effective and offer better service in competing for customers.” 

For instance, larger businesses have been allowed since 2001 to go shopping for electricity, instead of buying solely from SP Group at the regulated tariff.

The Government is also looking to diversify Singapore’s electricity generation sources so as to reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and exposure to volatile global fuel prices. 

Mr Chan highlighted initiatives, such as the JTC’s SolarRoof project, as part of a plan to raise solar adoption in Singapore to 350 megawatt peak (MWp) by 2020 and 1 gigawatt peak (GWp) beyond 2020. 

Adoption of solar power here has grown from 0.4 MWp in 2008 to around 145 MWp at the end of 2017.

Source: CNA/sk(hm)