Electricity retailer iSwitch to take over S$15m of household, business contracts from ES Power

Electricity retailer iSwitch to take over S$15m of household, business contracts from ES Power

Electricity retailers iSwtich and ES Power strike partnership
Electricity Retailers iSwitch and ES Power announced a partnership of their retail electricity businesses on Jun 6, 2019. (Photo: Facebook / ES Power)

SINGAPORE: Green electricity retailer ES Power will transfer all of its business and residential consumers – amounting to more than S$15 million in electricity retail contracts – to fellow retailer iSwitch by the end of this month, as part of a partnership amid stiff competition in the local market.

Mr Quek Leng Chuang, managing director of ES Power’s parent company Environmental Solutions (Asia) (ESA), told CNA on Thursday (Jun 6): “We will not be retailing electricity in the Open Electricity Market for very much longer.”

“We will work in partnership with iSwitch where they will take care of customers' electricity supply, while we will take care of the environmental attributes,” he added.

iSwitch said ES Power's customers have been notified of the transfer. 

The transfer process is “purely administrative and performed electronically” so there will be no disruption to electricity supplies, iSwitch said in a media release.

Its chief commercial officer Andrew Koscharsky added: "Customers have the choice to either novate across to iSwitch at the same electricity rate, terms and conditions of their existing contracts or stay with ES Power. For those who choose to stay with ES Power, ES Power will continue to serve its contracted consumers until the end of the contract."

STIFF COMPETITION
iSwitch has participated in the Open Electricity Market – an initiative to fully liberalise Singapore’s retail power market and allow households to buy power from retailers other than SP Services – since the pilot launch in Jurong last April. It now has approximately 70,000 residential accounts.

The takeover of ES Power’s contracts will make it the biggest green electricity retailer in Singapore, although Mr Koscharsky declined to comment how much the company invested for these contracts.

ES Power, which received its license to retail electricity in 2016 and positions itself as a retailer of green energy such as carbon-neutral electricity, entered the market months later at the start of the phased nationwide roll-out of the Open Electricity Market. 

ES Power's planned departure follows the exit of Red Dot Power in January, which cited financial challenges.

Given that there are more than 10 retailers involved in the Open Electricity Market, market observers have predicted fierce competition to eventually result in consolidation

ESA’s Mr Quek said: “You can imagine with 13 retailers just for the Open Electricity Market and even more for businesses, the competition is stiff. That is without a doubt.” 

Partnering iSwitch is a “strategic business decision” that will allow ESA, which recovers base and precious metals from industrial waste, to “stay focused” as a sustainability company. 

Moving forward, it “will continue to innovate and provide more services dedicated to the vision of a more sustainable future”, added Mr Quek.

As part of the deal announced on Thursday, both companies said they will hold a joint marketing initiative to help promote sustainability in Singapore.

“Through this initiative, iSwitch will be the licensed electricity retailer to supply electricity to all its consumers while ES Power will ‘green-up’ the electricity usage of iSwitch’s customers by offsetting all carbon emissions through the process of retiring carbon credits and renewable energy certificates where applicable,” the statement said.

When contacted, a spokesperson from the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said such partnerships are “commercial decisions that could occur in any open competitive market”.

The industry regulator also said it recognised that retailers may exit the market due to competition.

“While turnover of market players is more likely to occur during the initial rollout of the Open Electricity Market as retailers compete for market share to establish their presence, the market is expected to stabilise over time," it said.

Source: CNA/sk(aj)

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