Since the launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) in 2018, about half of Singaporean households have switched to electricity retailers.
For the half who have not, these households have been paying the tariff rate over the past 2 years – and will likely continue to do so for the foreseeable, since neither incentives, educational outreach, nor the lack of major issues for OEM customers has seemed to convince them to make the switch. However, with electricity prices expected to increase due to the doubling of fuel prices, there may be an additional incentive to switch now.
For those of us considering to switch or renewing our plans, here is an overview of the choices available so you can make the best choice for your needs – whether that’s for your new home, or your existing OEM contract expiring and you’re wondering what are the available plans right now.
Update: the electricity retailer iSwitch Energy will be ceasing their electricity retail operations on 11 November 2021. Households who are under iSwitch will be transferred to SP Group with effect from 12 November 2021.
5-Minute Explanation: How Electricity Is Produced And Sold In Singapore
In order to understand what an electricity retailer is, we first need to understand how electricity is produced and sold in Singapore. The Singapore energy market has always been an ecosystem made up of multiple players.
Everything starts with the electricity produced by power plants, which are owned and operated by power generation companies. Every half an hour, these power generation companies bid for contracts to generate and sell specified quantities of power on the wholesale electricity market. Retailers, including SP Group, then buy electricity in bulk from the wholesale electricity market to supply to consumers.
The electricity generated is then transmitted from the power plants and distributed across the island on the national power grid, which is also operated by SP Group.
In other words, SP Group buys electricity in bulk from the power generation companies on behalf of Singapore households. The company is also responsible for the infrastructure for reliable power delivery island-wide and billing households for electricity consumed.
To ensure consumers are protected, prices that Singapore households pay is based on the tariff set by the Energy Market Authority (EMA), with the aim of being as low as possible while allowing SP Group to cover operational costs.
The tariff is revised every quarter and consists of two parts: 1) fuel cost and 2) non-fuel cost. The fuel component is based on natural gas prices in the preceding quarter, while the non-fuel component covers the cost of running the electrical infrastructure and support services like meter reading.
In effect, the tariff system insulates Singaporeans, to some extent, from the electricity production and purchase process, and from near-term price fluctuations due to the global oil market, since 95% of Singapore’s electricity supply is generated using imported natural gas.
What Is The Open Electricity Market (OEM)?
The Open Electricity Market (OEM) is part of EMA’s effort to liberalise the electricity market, allowing residential households in Singapore to buy electricity from retailers other than SP Group.
Think of this as similar to how different telecommunication companies in Singapore such as SingTel, M1, Starhub and Circles.Life offer different price plans in order to attract different kinds of customers.
To be clear, SP Group continues to operate the national power grid, so you can be assured of the same reliable power that you come to expect living in a Singapore. For those who choose not to do anything, SP Power will continue to sell you electricity at the regulated tariff.
Here is the current list of electricity retailers that you’ll be able to buy their electricity from:
Best Electricity Supply – reportedly stopped accepting new customers
Diamond Electric – reportedly stopped accepting new customers
iSwitch – will cease operations on 11 November 2021
Ohm Energy – will exit on 15 October 2021. Operations will continue until the transfer of customers
Benefits Of The Open Electricity Market
The opening up of the electricity market for Singapore households come with a number of benefits for Singapore residents.
# 1 More Choices For Electricity Plans
Compared to paying a fixed, quarterly tariff rate which is what SP Group offers, retailers allow you to choose from two types of electricity plans. Different plans give Singaporeans choices on how they wish to buy electricity and who they wish to buy it from. They have the potential of large cost savings for households who choose an appropriate plan based on their consumption habits.
# 2 Competition Leading To Innovation And Better Prices
Competition among retailers that essentially sell the same product (electricity) means that companies need to provide great service at great prices. Beyond price, retailers are also competing to value-add to their customers.
For example, some retailers are offering free months of electricity, referral cashback, and other promotional rewards.
As companies strive to differentiate themselves, we can look forward to even more offerings and perks, and to choose the one that makes the most financial sense for us.
# 3 More Awareness Of Energy Consumption
The introduction of OEM and the large numbers of retailers and plans should make Singaporeans more aware of the electricity market in Singapore and to take stock of their own consumption patterns.
Being more conscious about when we use electricity, how much power our appliances are using, and areas of wastage will hopefully lead to more considered electricity use, saving both money and natural resources over time.
Overview Of Types Of Price Plans Offered By OEM Retailers
Before we compare the different standard price plans offered by each retailer, it’s important to first understand how each works. In general, retailers offer two types of plans: 1) Discount Off Regulated Tariff, 2) Fixed Price.
Here is how each type of electricity plan works.
1) Discount Off Regulated Tariff plans offer a discount off the prevailing regulated tariff price, which is revised every quarter.
Source: Energy Market Authority
2) Fixed Price plans mean you pay a fixed rate throughout the duration of your contract. While the rate is not subjected to quarterly fluctuations based on the tariff, it may be higher or lower than the tariff over time.
Source: Energy Market Authority
Peak and Off–Peak plans were offered to Jurong residents, but has since been withdrawn when the OEM rolls out nationwide, due to the lack of interest among consumers. Retailers could still offer Peak and Off-Peak plans, but these will be classified as “Non-Standard” plans.
Under this scheme, you pay different prices for electricity usage depending on the time of day. If your household’s electricity usage is skewed towards mainly off-peak hours, Peak and Off-Peak plans could potentially result in the significant savings.
* All prices are accurate at the time of writing and might be subject to change. Please contact individual retailers for the most updated pricing.
Best Discount Off Regulated Tariff Plans Across OEM Retailers
As of 6 October 2021, these are the Discount Off Regulated Tariff Plans offered by the various retailers:
|Retailer||Name Of Plan||Price||Contract Duration|
|Best Electricity Supply||BEST Home Saver Upfront||1% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|BEST Home Saver (24 months)||1% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|BEST Home Saver (12 months)||1% off the regulated tariff||12 months|
|Diamond Electric||FREEDOM (No Lock-In)||10% off regulated tariff||6 months|
|FREEDOM (Carbon Neutral)||9% off regulated tariff||6 months|
|Keppel Electric||DOT24||12.8% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|Ohm Energy||Ohm Discount (6 Months)||1% off regulated tariff||6 months|
|Ohm Discount (12 Months)||1% off regulated tariff||12 months|
|PacificLight Energy||Confirm Save 24m||10% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|Senoko Energy||LifeSave12||11% off regulated tariff||12 months|
|LifeSave24||11% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|Sunseap Energy||SUNSEAP-ONE (1% Solar Energy) 6M||5% off regulated tariff||6 months|
|SUNSEAP-ONE (1% Solar Energy) 12M||5% off regulated tariff||12 months|
|SUNSEAP-ONE (1% Solar Energy) 24M||5% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|SUNSEAP-50 (50% Solar Energy)||2% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|SUNSEAP-100 (100% Solar Energy)||0% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|Tuas Power Supply||PowerDO 6||16% off regulated tariff||6 months|
|PowerDO 12 Care||18% off regulated tariff||12 months|
|PowerDO 24||16% off regulated tariff||24 months|
|Union Power||Power Saver 6||10% off regulated tariff||6 months|
|Power Saver 12||10% off regulated tariff||12 months|
|Power Saver 24||10% off regulated tariff||24 months|
Short contract durations can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, a shorter-term contract frees you up to choose another cheaper plan or even switch to another retailer after 6 months. On the flip side, the discount being offered may not be the same by the time you need to re-contract.
For those who want a short contract (6 months), the Tuas Power Supply – PowerDO6 gives the highest percentage discount of 16%.
For a 12-months contract, Tuas Power Supply – PowerDO 12 Care gives the highest percentage discount of 18%.
Finally, for those who prefer longer-term certainty (24 months), Tuas Power Supply – PowerDO 24 Care, gives the highest percentage discount of 16%.
Best Fixed Price Plans Across OEM Retailers
As of 1 October 2021, these are the Fixed Price plans available, which you can compare below:
|Retailer||Name Of Plan||Price||Contract Duration|
|Best Electricity Supply||BEST Home Fixed 6 months||23.32 cents/kWh||6 months|
|BEST Home Fixed 12 months||23.04 cents/kWh||12 months|
|BEST Home Fixed 24 months||22.79 cents/kWh||24 months|
|iSwitch – will cease operations on 11 November 2021||iSwitch2Green||25.47 cents/kWh||6 months|
|Keppel Electric||FIXED12||22.30 cents/kWh||12 months|
|Ohm Energy||Fixed Ohm (6 Months)||25.73 cents/kWh||6 months|
|Fixed Ohm (12 Months)||25.73 cents/kWh||12 months|
|Fixed Ohm (24 Months)||25.73 cents/kWh||24 months|
|PacificLight Energy||Savvy Saver 12||22.50 cents/kWh||12 months|
|Sunny Side-Up 12m (Green Plan)||22.50 cents/kWh||12 months|
|Savvy Saver 24||22.50 cents/kWh||24 months|
|Sembcorp Power||12M Fixed Price Home||22.50 cents/kWh||6 months|
|6M Fixed Price Home||22.50 cents/kWh||12 months|
|24M Fixed Price Home||22.50 cents/kWh||24 months|
|Senoko Energy||LifePower12||22.50 cents/kWh||12 months|
|LifePower24 (Smart meter)||22.50 cents/kWh||24 months|
|LifeSmart24||22.89 cents/kWh||24 months|
|LifeGreen 24||22.93 cents/kWh|
|Geneco by Seraya Energy||Give Us A Try||22.00 cents/kWh||6 months|
|Get It Fixed 12||22.00 cents/kWh||12 months|
|Get It Fixed 24||22.00 cents/kWh||24 months|
|Sunseap Energy||SUNSEAP-ONE (1% Solar Energy) 6M||22.98 cents/kWh||6 months|
|SUNSEAP-ONE (1% Solar Energy) 12M||22.98 cents/kWh||12 months|
|SUNSEAP-ONE (1% Solar Energy) 24M||22.98 cents/kWh||24 months|
|SUNSEAP-50 (50% Solar Energy)||25.40 cents/kWh||24 months|
|SUNSEAP-100 (100% Solar Energy)||25.79 cents/kWh||24 months|
|PowerFIX 12||22.50 cents/kWh||12 months|
|PowerFIX 24||22.50 cents/kWh||24 months|
|PowerFIX 12 Care||22.18 cents/kWh||12 months|
|Union Power||Union Saver 6||22.98 cents/kWh||6 months|
|Union Saver 12||22.50 cents/kWh||12 months|
|Union Saver 24||22.50 cents/kWh||24 months|
The best rate for the mid-term (12-months) is 22.00 cents/kWh, from Geneco – Get It Fixed 12.
And if you prefer to lock in the fixed rate for the long-term, consider Geneco – Get It Fixed 24, which gives the best deal at 22.00 cents/kWh for a 24-month contract.
The cheapest rate for a 6-month contact is 22.00 cents/kWh, offered by Geneco – Get It Fixed 6.
Now that you understand how the various plans work, you might wonder which one suits you best. Here are four steps you can take to answer that question.
Step 1: Examine Your Household Electricity Bill
The first thing you can do is to gather your past electricity bills. Since electricity consumption is generally cyclical, doing so will help you have a more accurate picture of your consumption patterns.
When going through your household electricity bills, note the highest electricity usage in a month, and then calculate the average monthly electricity consumed.
Step 2: Calculate Expected Costs
To help you along, you can also refer to information on historical tariff rates and compare against the rates on offer.
Source: SP Group
The Current Regulated Tariff is 25.80 cents per kWh with GST (effective from 1 October to 31 December 2021)
Take your average monthly electricity consumption (derived in Step 1) and multiply that with rates given by the Fixed Price plan that you are considering. This is how much you can expect to pay when you’re on a Fixed Price plan.
Expected Fixed Rate Bill = Electricity Consumed x Fixed Rate Cost (per kWh)
Adding a column to your original table, you can see if you will be making savings (and by how much).
Electricity Bill ($)
Expected Fixed Rate Bill
To know how much you’ll be paying if you are on a Discount Off Regulated Tariff plan, look at what you are currently paying for your electricity (which is at the regulated tariff) and factor in the discount percentage given in the plan.
Expected Discount Off Tariff Bill = Electricity Bill – (Electricity Bill x Discount Off Tariff Percentage)
Electricity Bill ($)
Expected Discount Off
Adding a column to your original table, you can see how much savings in dollar terms you would have made.
Using the results of both Fixed Price and Discount Off Regulated Tariff tables, you can see which type of plan will result in the greatest savings for your household.
If you’re worried about making the “wrong” decision, then the simple sure-win proposition is to go for a Discount Off Regulated Tariff plan. By switching to a retailer with such a plan, you will enjoy immediate savings compared to sticking with SP Group.
Step 3: Read The Fine Print
After you identified what seems like the best plan for you, you can visit the retailer’s website and download the Fact Sheet for the plan (or plans) that you have in mind. This Fact Sheet will summarise the key contractual terms and conditions of the price plan, such as contract duration, payment terms, security deposit, early termination charges and auto-renewal clauses.
Another document to look out for is the Consumer Advisory which outlines the important things that you should be aware of before signing up with a retailer. Retailers are required to obtain your acknowledgement before contracting you as their customer. For most of the plans, there is usually a security deposit required, and there are early termination and late payment fees you need to be aware of.
As with all contracts, read the fine print carefully and ask the retailer to explain any of the terms and conditions that you are unsure of.
Step 4: Look For Discounts And Promotions
In a bid to attract new customers, retailers have been offering referral discounts and other perks. Some of these are limited-time or limited-quantity offers, and they should not be the driving factor for deciding to sign with a particular retailer.
Ultimately, choosing your electricity retailer and plan is an important decision that you should make based on your needs, and not merely the free gifts on offer.
This article was first published on 1 October 2018 and updated to reflect the latest prices. Additional reporting by Clement Low.
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