Open Electricity Market (OEM) For Businesses: Can You Switch And How Much Can You Save?

This article was first published on 15 December 2020 and has been updated with the latest information.

Since 2018, with the introduction of the Open Electricity Market (OEM), consumers (both households and businesses) have the choice to acquire their electricity from various retailers instead of SP Group. 

According to OpenElectricityMarket.sg, as of 31 October 2020, about half (47%) of business accounts have switched to buying electricity from a retailer of their own choice. 

While most people are familiar with OEM for households, businesses (especially new or smaller business owners) may not be aware that you can acquire your electricity supply from a non-SP Group provider. However, there are some restrictions for businesses, especially for those in Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) buildings. 

Here is what you need to know about Open Electricity Market (OEM) for businesses, whether you can switch your electricity provider from SP Group and how much you can save by switching. 

Read Also: How To Use The Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG) To Buy Laptops For Your Business

Electricity Options For Businesses

In general, there are 3 options for businesses to buy their electricity.

#1 Buying from SP Group at the regulated tariff. This is the default electricity retailer that every business and household buys from if there is no action taken to switch.

#2 Buying from various electricity retailers. There are two main price plans if you buy from electricity retailers: fixed price plans and discount off regulated tariff plans. 

  • If your business electricity consumption is less than 2,000kWh, you can buy from the Open Electricity Market (OEM).  
  • If your business electricity consumption is 2,000kWh and above, you can buy from any licensed retailer. 

#3 Buying from the Wholesale Electricity Market. This option is riskier as wholesale electricity price can change every half an hour, depending on market demand and supply conditions.

Regardless of which purchase option you choose, the electricity is still supplied by SP Group as they operate the national power grid. If there is a disruption to your electricity supply, you will still have to contact SP Group for assistance. 

Check Whether You Can Make The Switch

Independent Electricity Supply

If you are your own landlord (i.e. you own the building that your business is operating from) or you are in a building where you are the only tenant, you are most likely to be eligible for Open Electricity Market (OEM). Basically, if you own the master meter, you can switch your electricity retailer relatively easily. 

To be eligible to switch, you will need to change your current cumulative meter to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter. This smart meter allows your electricity consumption to be measured every 30 mins and is a requirement to switch electricity retailer.

The estimated cost of installing a smart meter is about $40.

Shared Electricity Supply (Master-Sub Metering Arrangement)

For most businesses in malls and commercial buildings, you probably share your electricity supply with other tenants even if you have your own unit meter. The building owner will most likely arrange the electricity retailer to use.

If you are in an MCST building, most likely you are in a building that has a master-sub metering arrangement, this means that your options to buy electricity are restricted to the En-Bloc Contestability Scheme or the Demand Aggregation Scheme.

Under the En-Bloc Contestability Scheme, the MCST or the master-metered account holder will buy electricity for the entire premises on behalf of all its tenants. This means that you would have to convince not just your landlord to switch but also all the other tenants under the same master-metered account

If you are able to convince your landlord to switch but not able to get the agreement of all other tenants, you can still switch electricity retailer under the Demand Aggregation Scheme. Under this scheme, the MSCT can configure a common service load with you as the consenting tenant under a sub-meter. The consumption under this sub-meter can then be used to purchase electricity from a retailer. However, this may require additional electrical works from the MSCT and all the tenants under the same sub-meter must agree to the switch. 

Given the additional effort on the part of the master-metered account holder, it may be difficult to convince your landlord to switch electricity retailer. However, the chances of doing so may be higher under the Demand Aggregation Scheme, especially if you are an anchor tenant.

Look For An Electricity Retailer

Once you are eligible to purchase from the Open Electricity Market, you can start looking for suitable price plans. There are two main types: fixed price and discount off regulated tariff.

Fixed price plans offer certainty over future electricity prices. For businesses who require certainty and want to minimise any variability in prices, this will be the preferred option.

For businesses that can accept price variability but want a better deal than SP Group’s regulated tariff rates, discount off regulated tariff may be the better option. Especially, if electricity tariff rates trend downwards, such plans will offer you better savings. 

For reference, the regulated tariff rates were trending down until October 2020, and is now trending upwards. This would benefit fixed-priced subscribers more. 

Open Electricity Market: Fix Price Plans

Currently, there are only 2 fixed price plans for businesses, both offered by Senoko Energy Supply Pte Ltd.

RetailerPlanElectricity RateContract DurationSavings^
Senoko Energy Supply Pte Ltd.BizPower1220.68 cents/kWh  12 months$69.00
Senoko Energy Supply Pte Ltd.BizPower2420.48 cents/kWh  24 months$73.00

^ savings are computed based on 2,000 kWh electricity consumption and April 2021 regulated tariff rate.

Open Electricity Market: Discount Off Regulated Tariff Plans

Currently, there are 11 electricity retailers offering various discounts off regulated tariff plans. 

RetailerPlanElectricity RateContract DurationSavings^
SilvercloudMax Savings25% off the regulated tariff12 months $120.65 
Senoko EnergyBizSave 1225% off the regulated tariff12 months $120.65 
Senoko EnergyBizSave 2423.6% off the regulated tariff24 months$113.89
Sunseap EnergyEcoSave 24 Months22% off the regulated tariff24 months 106.17 
Seraya Energy (Geneco)Biz Easy Flexi 1220.42% off the regulated tariff12 months $       98.55 
Sunseap EnergyEcoSave 12 Months20% off the regulated tariff12 months $96.52 
Union PowerBusiness DOT-2420% off the regulated tariff24 months $96.52 
Diamond ElectricSure Save Plus Rebate19% off the regulated tariff12 months $91.69 
Best ElectricityBEST Business Saver (24 months)18% off the regulated tariff24 months86.87 
iSwitchSuper Saver Discount (24 Months)18% off the regulated tariff24 months $       86.87 
PacificLight EnergyValue Saver18% off the regulated tariff24 months86.87 
PacificLight EnergyValue Saver (No Lock-in) BIZ18% off the regulated tariff6 months$86.87 
Tuas Power SupplyPowerSMART 1218% off the regulated tariff12 months$86.87 
Tuas Power SupplyPowerSMART 2418% off the regulated tariff24 months$86.87 
Diamond ElectricFREEDOM (No Lock-in) BIZ17% off the regulated tariff6 months 82.04 
Best ElectricityBEST Business Saver (12 months)15% off the regulated tariff12 months $72.39 
Keppel ElectricDOT1010% off the regulated tariff24 months 48.26 

^ savings are computed based on 2,000 kWh electricity consumption and April 2021 regulated tariff rate.

Based on the current regulated tariff rates, the 12-month fixed price plans offered by Senoko Energy’s BizSafe 12 plan and Silvercloud’s Max Savings plan are better than many of the discount off regulated tariff plans. These are currently providing a 25% discount off regulated plans.

For businesses looking to lock in for a longer timeframe, Senoko Energy’s BizSafe 24 plan offers 23.6% off regulated tariff rates.

For businesses who want a shorter lock in, Pacific Light’s Value Saver (No Lock-in) BIZ plan offers a 6-month contract providing 18% off the regulated tariff rate.

In addition to the offered plans, many retailers can offer customised solutions to businesses. If your business electricity consumption exceeds 2,000 kWh, you can approach any one of the 21 licensed electricity retailers for a quote. 

Read Also: The Ultimate Business Owners’ Guide To The HDB Home Office Scheme

Choose A Plan That Suits Your Business Needs 

In the end, the electricity plan should suit your business needs. If your business electricity consumption is relatively low, it may not be worth your while to negotiate with your landlord to switch your electricity retailer just to save small amount. In some buildings, the master tenant or building owner also has an incentive to seek the cheapest electricity provider.

However, if your electricity consumption is high, making the switch can make much more sense, especially if you are the master meter account holder. 

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