Open Electricity Market is a government initiative to liberalize the retail power market in Singapore. Thirteen companies are offering various fixed and flexible rates. Government-owned SP Group/SP Services1 will still manage the power grid and distribution. Recent statistics suggest that 49% of households switched to a private retailer to enjoy the savings.2
This post is an attempt to help you decide to switch and choose a retailer for a residential connection. As the number of retailers and options is relatively high, the comparison is time-consuming and confusing. However, I attempt to list popular options by considering the most important factor – price. If you want more information on a specific plan, please refer to the retailer website after reading the “Additional Information” section below.
A glance at standard price plans
The current rate charged by SP Services is ‘regulated tariff’ which is adjusted each quarter based on fuel cost (see “Additional information” section). The regulated tariff for Apr-Jun-2021 is 24.13 cents per kWh (including GST). The standard pricing plans offered by retailers are fixed-rate (for six months, 1, 2 or 3 years) and fixed discount rate (a fixed % discount, e.g., 23% on the regulated tariff).
For a quick comparison, I considered a monthly electricity consumption of 300 kWh (National average for private apartments is around 530 kWh, and a 3/4 room HDB is approximately 300 kWh)3. Senoko has the cheapest rate for 24 months fixed-rate standard plan inclusive of rebate (you can use the referral code P7FJS3H4 for an additional S$30 rebate along with any other promotional codes). Please note that NOT all rebates are readily available to you online. Hence call the retailer for promotion codes in such cases. (Most of the price information is updated on 19th May 2021). Download the ‘DIY Comparison’ Excel sheet at the bottom of this post to input your average monthly consumption for a more accurate comparison of savings.
If you believe that global oil price/ regulated tariff will be declining in the coming months, you can opt for a fixed discount plan. Most of the retailers offer around 20-23% savings from the regulated tariff. The same three companies (Senoko, Union Power, Keppel) provide cheaper options for 24 months contract for 300 kWh usage per month.
As retailers are providing around 23% discount on regulated tariffs, there is no reason to delay the switch. However, if you are thinking of relocating abroad, you might want to continue with the SP group or consider shorter contracts with the retailer. You can even consider contract-less plans such as an 18% discount by Diamond electric. There is no termination/relocation fee charged for relocation (detailed comparison below – last updated in 2019 July). SP group guarantees an uninterrupted power supply in the event of a retailer ceasing the service. Thus, there is no apparent risk in switching to a retailer. The application process is online and straightforward.
As the regulated tariff for the quarter is derived based on fuel cost in the preceding quarter, changes in international oil prices dictate regulated tariff (see chart below). If you expect the oil price to slide for the next few months, you can choose the fixed discount plan. Otherwise, the fixed rate is for you. Oil price could fluctuate based on various scenarios 4
After observing the market for the last couple of years, I think the ’12 months contract’ could be an option to be considered seriously as the switching process is relatively easier. The savings offered in ’12 months contracts’ often is higher than ’24 months contracts’. See below the comparison on ’12 months contract’ pricing.
Please note that the credit card discount and NTUC member discount offered by some companies change the entire scenario on saving potential. Hence I would suggest you download the DIY Excel tool given at the bottom of this article and input the rebate from your specific card before making a decision. Other useful sources for comparison are DBS Market place and Open electricity market comparison.
Open Electricity Market website lists all price plans provided by the retailers.5 You can see that there are non-standard plans considering weekend vs. weekday consumption, peak vs. off-peak time consumption, etc.
You might want to ask these questions to the retailers before finalizing the plan. I added my comments to each.
- Can I get the promotion code for the rebate? An additional discount is given on the phone or at roadshows. Compare online offers before you signup at roadshows. A few retailers offer cash rebates from $20 to $60 in tie-up with credit card companies. I had added $40 for FREE Air-con Servicing offered by iSwitch when I computed the total rebate.
- Is there a service fee?
iSwitch has a service fee of $5.297/ month for their 24 months plan (they are classifying two years plan as non-standard plan!), which makes a difference in total savings. (Update on 19th May 2021, as of now iSwich is waiving off the admin fee)
- What is the Early termination fee (ETF)?
iSwitch, Sembcorp, and Tuas Power waive the fee if you are relocating outside of Singapore (provide valid documents). Most of the retailers charge ETF based on house type. See the plan factsheet for details. A consolidated list is given below. I have combined some house types for simplicity.
- Is there a relocation fee if you are moving to new premises in Singapore?
Most retailers don’t charge relocation fees. Union Power has a fee of $26.75. Some of the retailers charge the ETF and refund once you start a new contract on a new premise. There is an SP Group fee of $10.7 for account closure in such cases.
- Do I get a new bill?
Most retailers provide separate bills. Ohm and Tuas Power have integrated billing with SP Group. All retailers give rebates on a credit card payment (e.g., 1% for ‘POSB Everyday card’, 5% rebate on ‘UOB One card’ etc.).
- Is there a security deposit?
65% of the security deposit with SP Group is used to offset outstanding bills with SP Group. You need to pay the security deposit to the new retailer if their plan demands a deposit (e.g., iSwitch requires a deposit of $30-$90 based on house type). However, few retailers don’t demand a security deposit. Singaporeans and PRs are not required to pay a security deposit for Keppel.
- Is there a carbon offset to be paid?
Ohm has an optional fee charged for consumers opting to pay carbon offset credit. If you want 100% clean solar energy, you can opt for a 100% solar scheme from Sunseap and still save about 10% on the regulated tariff.
- Should I install a new meter?
The retailers use the same meters. However, if you opt for smart meters/ (AMI), there is an optional installation fee of around $43. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter provides reading at half-hourly intervals 6.
- What are the other charges?
Retailers charge various other fees such as paper bill fees ($1.07), GIRO rejection fees, etc. E.g., Pacific light allows you to change the Price plan by paying a fee of $53.50.