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Singapore

Households reduce energy use amid spike in prices

Work- or study-from-home arrangements make conserving electricity difficult

Some households in Singapore are taking steps to cut down on energy consumption, amid a spike in electricity prices here. These include limiting the use of air-conditioners, with one family saying they will try to gather in a room to minimise the use of electricity.

Some are worried that more electricity retailers will soon drop out. If that happens, they may have to find a new retailer and it could result in higher utility bills.

The current quarterly household tariff stands at 25.8 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity, the highest rate in almost two years since the first quarter of last year, when the tariff was 25.9 cents per kWh.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA), which regulates Singapore's energy supply, on Tuesday said a confluence of factors has disrupted gas supplies and sent global market prices to a new high.

The factors are an increased consumption from recovering economic activity, severe weather events and a series of production outages.

The authority said it has taken steps to safeguard Singapore's energy supply in the face of these developments and urged consumers to conserve energy where possible.

The spike in electricity prices has led three independent retailers - iSwitch, Ohm Energy and Best Electricity - to exit the market in the past week. They cited volatile market conditions and unsustainable price plans.

TRANSFERRED

EMA told The Straits Times yesterday the three retailers' household accounts collectively make up less than 10 per cent of the total households here.

Mr Kelvin Tay, 45, who is on a two-year fixed plan with Senoko Energy, said: "I hope Senoko doesn't throw in the towel. We consumers will be on the losing end."

Consumers who had contracts with retailers that have exited the market will be transferred to SP Group, which will charge for electricity at the regulated tariff rate.

It will not take over the contract terms that consumers had with their exiting retailers.

Another consumer, Mr Ridzuan Osman, 30, said he is worried his electricity retailer, Geneco, will pull out from the market. He is also on a fixed plan. "We will be switching off the plugs when not in use. We will also try to share the fan at home in the living room instead of switching on multiple fans at one time in separate rooms."

But despite their best efforts to reduce energy consumption, consumers also lamented that it would not be easy to conserve energy, especially due to work- or study-from-home arrangements.

Ms Cheryl Goh, 31, a director in an oil and gas company, said: "The primary concern was never that there would not be energy or electricity. It is only how much it would cost now."

She added that it would be difficult to further reduce the use of electrical appliances as both she and her husband are working from home.

ELECTRICITY & POWER