This article was written in collaboration with PacificLight. All views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg
With the exception of those living in areas where postal codes start with 01 to 33, most Singaporean households are now able to choose an electricity plan and retailer of their choice under the Open Electricity Market (OEM). By 1 May 2019, this power to choose will be extended islandwide.
While the ability to choose is great, Singaporeans face another problem: making sense of 13 retailers and the 52 standard plans they offer, as well as additional non-standard plans.
Here are five questions you need to ask that helps you make sense of the OEM marketplace and make the best decision for your household.
#1 Do You Want A Discount-Off Tariff, Fixed Price, Or Peak and Off-Peak Plan?
To help consumers compare plans across retailers, two kinds of standard plans have been defined: Fixed Price and Discount Off Regulated Tariff. A third type, Peak and Off-Peak plan is offered by some retailers, but are considered as non-standard because how each retailer designates peak hours differs.
Here’s how each of these plans work.
Fixed Price plans require you to 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.
From now till 31 March 2019, PacificLight’s Stick To It plans offer a fixed rate of 17.78 cents/kWh and 18.45 cents/kWh for a 24-month and 12-month contract respectively. It allows consumers not to worry about price fluctuations and have different electricity bill sizes, even though they have identical consumption patterns.
For context, the Current Regulated Tariff is 25.52 cents/kWh, effective from 1 January to 31 March 2019. The highest tariff in past 24 months is 25.82 cents/kWh, while the lowest tariff in past 24 months is 21.72 cents/kWh. The average tariff in past 24 months is 23.78 cents/kWh. All prices cited are inclusive of GST.
Those who are concerned about rising prices in future would be glad to learn about PacificLight’s Super Saver plan, which gives you peace of mind with a low Fixed Price of 17.68 cents/kWh over 36 months (promotional offer valid till 31 March 2019, inclusive of 5% Prompt Payment Discount).
Discount Off Regulated Tariff plans offer a discount off the prevailing regulated tariff price, which is revised every quarter.
PacificLight’s Confirm Save is an example of a Discount Off Regulated Tariff plan. With Confirm Save, customers will be charged 22% less than the prevailing regulated tariff that households under SP Group will be paying. You can get Confirm Save under either a 12 or 24 month contract.
Peak and Off–Peak is a type of non-standard plan that allows consumers to pay different prices for their 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 substantial savings.
An example of aPeak and Off-Peak plan is PacificLight’s Save While Sleeping. During peak periods (7am to 11pm), you’ll pay 10% less than the regulated tariff, while you’ll pay 30% less than the regulated tariff during off-peak hours (11pm to 7am).
This allows you to be strategic with your electricity consumption, potentially resulting in significant savings. One thing to note is that to take advantage of the Save While Sleeping plan, you’ll need to install a smart meter at a one-time cost of $42.80 (Incl. GST).
What’s interesting about PacificLight’s Save While Sleeping plan is that even during peak-hours, you’ll enjoy a discount from what SP Group would charge.
#2 Do You Want A Short Or Longer Term Contract?
OEM standard plans are offered in durations of 6 months, 12 months and 24 months. Price aside, what are the pros and cons of a short contract versus a long contract?
On one hand, a shorter-term contract frees you up to choose another plan or even switch to another retailer after 6 months. On the flip side, the attractive discounts being offered today may not be the same by the time you need to re-contract.
Today’s OEM landscape is highly competitive and prices across retailers are extremely competitive. A longer-term contract would give you greater certainty by locking in the prices today. This is even more valuable for those who believe that prices for electricity would go up in the future due to rising oil prices or other factors.
To help customers enjoy even greater peace of mind, PacificLight has introduced the Super Saver plan that allows you to enjoy a low rate of 17.68 cents/kWh over 36 months (inclusive of 5% Prompt Payment Discount).
#3 What Are The Fine Print And Other Fees You May Incur?
To help improve transparency for consumers, the Energy Market Authority has mandated that all retailers provide a standardised factsheet for all their residential plans, clearly outlining all possible charges and contract terms.
Before making your decision based on prices in retailers’ marketing materials, take the time to examine the factsheet of the plan(s) you’ve shortlisted, and take note of any additional fees and fine print.
Sample OEM Factsheet
For example, some retailers market prices without GST, or have surcharges for Carbon Tax, Transmission Loss Factor, and admin fees.
Customers of PacificLight will be glad to know that all prices charged are inclusive of GST and there are no monthly paper bill/admin fees. PacificLight also absorbs both the Carbon Tax and Transmission Loss Factor.
Additionally, if you’re on the Super Saver 36-month Fixed Price plan, you’ll enjoy an additional 5% Prompt Payment Discount – if you pay your bills on time, which you should!
Furthermore, PacificLight waives the need for any security deposit when you pay with recurring card payment, so you don’t have to worry about being surprised by unexpected charges in your next bill.
#4 Have Your Friends Or Relatives Already Switched?
If you have friends or family who already made the switch to the retailer you have in mind, find out from them their experience first-hand. How was the switching process? How was the customer service experience? These might be intangible and hard to put down on marketing materials, but are nonetheless important aspects to consider.
In order to gain more customers, some retailers are also offering referral programmes to reward new and existing customers.
PacificLight has recently launched their own referral programme, which gives existing customers $32.10 in rebates, while granting new customers rebates to the tune of $21.40.
Ask around to see if your loved ones have a referral code to share and allow both of you to benefit in the process!
#5 Are There Any Ongoing Promotions For Even Greater Savings?
Competition among OEM retailers is extremely fierce during this initial rollout. In order to entice customers, retailers are offering limited-time deals, complementary insurance, free gifts and more.
DollarsAndSense readers considering a plan from PacificLight can enjoy additional rebates when you sign up online. These rebates are on top of any referral codes, so be sure to take advantage of referrals as well!
If you’re signing-up for a Super Saver 36-month plan, use the promo code 68DOLLARS to receive a $68 rebate (excl. GST).
If you’re signing-up for any 24-month plan, use the promo code 48SENSE to receive a $48 rebate (excl. GST).
These promo codes are exclusive to DollarsAndSense and are limited to the first 200 online sign-ups.
In addition, if you’re a new or existing American Express (AMEX) cardholder, you can also receive additional rebates. PacificLight customers who sign up for a new AMEX card would enjoy $80 rebate off their electricity bills with a minimum $1 charge on eligible spend within the first month.
Existing AMEX cardholders who set up recurring payment for their PacificLight bills (minimum bill size of $10) will get a one-time credit of $40 to their next American Express statement. Terms and conditions apply.
Here’s an example of how you could stack up promo codes and rebates as a PacificLight customer on the Super Saver 36 month plan:
Open Electricity Market Gives You The Power To Choose
With a wide range of electricity plans and retailers, Singapore households have the choice to decide which plan gives them the best value and which retailer they trust.
As a power generation company and electricity retailer, PacificLight is committed to serving customers and their energy needs effectively and simply.
In fact, they have invested heavily in their customer support operations, such as building a multilingual customer service team and extending their call centre hotline hours to 9am – 8pm on weekdays and 9am – 1pm on Saturdays.
If you are making the switch, do check out PacificLight and pick the best plan that’s right for you. Whichever plan and retailer you choose, ensure you do so after careful deliberation, and that you exercise your power to choose wisely!