The Singapore electricity market decentralised some time around 2015 and that made way for the big commercial companies to change their electricity supplier. The bulk of electricity are consumed by the business/commercial companies. As an estimate, the ratio of consumption is probably around 65/35 in terms of consumption. The Open Electricity Market started out in phases since November 2018. There was a trial run for 100k households and small businesses in the Jurong Area in April 2018 and these guys get to save at least 30% off the electricity bills! That is such a good deal and a first mover advantage.
The Start of OEM
Since November 2018, it was a phased launch to open up the entire Singapore to all residential households and smaller businesses. By May 2019, Singaporeans can choose the electricity retailer of their choice. It is interesting and unique to see this happening in this small island because SP Group is the monopoly in such nationwide infrastructure. I used to know nothing about the electricity market until such an initiative was discovered. The fact that SP Group remains as the electricity grid provider and transmission lines is indeed unique only to Singapore.
What this means is that all generation in Singapore has to go through the National Grid and in return, the power supply remains consistent, stable and reliable. Not much of a difference I would say.
If there are power outages or blackouts, the whole responsibility still lies with SP Group and you have to contact their 24-hour hotline. These outages has nothing to do with the generation firms. So the key question is still, how is it that these retailers can provide a lower pricing as compared to regulated tariff. (Electricity Rate Tariff is revised every January, April, July and Oct)
From digging up articles and information online as well as speaking with the respective retailers, the simple answer to this question is:
Regulated tariff was formulated. It is similar to how Airlines price their seats which oil prices play a part in that calculation. From only buying electricity from SP Group (It takes in and calculate the 2.5 months of Brent Oil in USD) as part of the formula.
The retailer price, however depends on the bring of electricity they buy from the wholesale market (www.emcsg.com) and from their portfolio in Electricity Futures.(Which is traded in SGX) As a result of a different formulation, this allows the retailers to price in roughly about 15-25% cheaper as compared to the Regulated Tariff.
There is an interesting write up that talks about how prices are cheaper from Ohm Energy here Ohm Market Outlook. Of course, there are also retailers who are willing to absorb all costs to get more customers. As long as there are no hidden costs, we stand to benefit.
The Power to Choose
Now, for the exciting part. there are a 12 choices to choose from. We, as consumers should benefit from the increase in competition from different retailers. I will try my best to let everyone know what are the things to look out for before you switch to a retailer:
Not just the Price
a. First thing first – Do not sweat the small stuff. Cheap does not mean that it is good. Cheap is just the first step to getting your attention. Prices can be compared at the Price Comparison Website which is the official comparison website at Compare.
Good Reviews Online
b. Check out the reviews first. You can go to Facebook, Google, Retailers’ website, Value Champion, SeedlyReviews and many more. Do not underestimate the power of reviews. Don’t let cheap cover your eyes.
This retailer penalises you for forgetting to renew your contract at 5% off the tariff.(What a rip-off! I’m sure there are a few more of such retailers around) A friend of mine told me that Geneco, Tuas power and Union Power renewed their contract at 10% off regulated tariff so please check your contracts.
c. Look at the renewal clauses. It is extremely troublesome to keep switching retailers once every 6/12 months. Some retailers are just out there to rip consumers off by renewing you on a bad renewal contract if you forget. You have to write these guys off permanently.
Choice of Billing
d. What do you prefer? Consolidated fuss-free billing or more separate billing?
What Type of Plans?
e. No perfect plans. Just what s more comfortable for you.
- If you want to be paying cheaper than Regulated Tariff then go for the Discount off Tariff price plans. The cons is that if the tariff goes higher, your rate may be higher as well.
- If you wish to have some form of fixed pricing, then go for the Fixed Price plans. The cons is that if the tariff goes lower, then your rate will remain at the fixed rate.
Fees and Hidden Charges
f. Take note of Fees and Charges. If you want to just take on a long term contract, make sure you do know the criteria if you can transfer your contract to a new address without incurring an ETF or other fees.
- For example Early Termination Fees if you terminate your contract Early.
- Late Payment Charges
- Transmission Loss Charges
- Extra fee for Hard Copy bills
- Fee charges for failed payment (Credit Card/Debit Card)
- Fee charges for failed GIRO application
- Admin Fee if you failed to provide the proper documents to a retailer
g. There are consumer safeguards so there is no need to worry that your lights will go off. It’s just that it is going to be a little troublesome if anyone goes bust. You can read more about these safeguards here: Consumer Safeguards
It is a no-brainer and there is no catch. Just switch and you are on your way to cheaper bills. You just need to be wary about the retailer you choose from. There are no risks – What you have is literally a financial contract on a rate you agree to sign up on for a certain period. (If you decide to go on a contract plan) If you wish to go on a no commitment, no contract plan, you can check out Ohm Energy. They are one of the rare retailers who offer such plans.
Who did i choose?
Personally, I really prefer Ohm Energy. You can check them out here at Ohm Energy.
Positive and Good Reviews
A. The reviews are literally positive and they look rather solid. They are also Most Popular at Seedly Reviews.
Great Customer Service
B. The customer service seems to be the center of all the buzz which I really like. When I have a query, the response that i get from the customer care is quick and concise. Not quite what I have seen elsewhere.
Nice Colours and Branding. Even the Name Sounds Cool
C. The branding is just appealing to me and everything is done online. I am so done with roadshow salesperson. They are just out there for a single purpose.
D. When you renew, they have a renewal bonus and also they renewal you at the market rate during the renewal period. That is fair.
Referral Program and more Savings!
F. You can also refer as many friends as you want. That is S$20 for both referrer and referee with no cap. Thumbs Up!
G. Consolidate SP Billing with them means that the payment arrangement, Security Deposit, Hard copy bills all remains the same. That is really easy.
H. For New Customers, they have a three month trial period to try them out. If you decide to switch out before then, there are no fees involved. That gives me confidence about how much they are willing to let you “Try them out”.
If you do select Ohm, do remember to use my referral code: OHMREF3F28B7 (Input into the promocode field and click apply at Step 3 of the application)
If you like what I am sharing or if it resonates with you, do use my referral codes for other services at https://atomic-temporary-178675883.wpcomstaging.com/contact/
The pictures were taken from the respective retailer and EMA/OEM website for this article.