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Electricity Retailers in Singapore (2020) — Which Offers the Cheapest Electricity Price Plan?

sembcorp electricity retailers

You can’t procrastinate forever — the Open Electricity Market (OEM) initiative has been in full swing for some time (since 1 May 2019) so if you haven’t already, it’s right about time to choose your preferred electricity retailer in Singapore.

If you’ve done zero research, consider reading our 101 guide on the OEMFAQ guide on making the switch from Singapore Powers (SP) and/or list of hidden costs to look out for.

Or watch our video explainer: How Much Will You Save If You Switched From SP Services?

The Open Electricity Market (OEM) and electricity retailers in Singapore

The OEM is a turning point in Singapore history. Up until 1 Nov 2018, electricity was provided by SP (Singapore Power) and all we had to do was pay our bills.

But now, there are 12 electricity retailers with published prices offering 2 standard pricing models… that means over 20 electricity packages to compare. Naturally, there’s some analysis paralysis…

To get you started, here are 3 steps to narrow down the options.

Step 1: Decide if you want a (a) fixed rate plan or (b) discount off the regulated tariff. Some retailers have non-standard plans as well.

Step 2: Decide how long you want your contract to be — it can be as short as 6 months to as long as 3 years.

Step 3: Finally, compare the prices and choose your preferred power soulmate.

Before your eyes start twitching and your brain starts short-circuiting, we’re here to play cupid with a comprehensive comparison of all the current retailers.

There’s an official OEM comparison tool which lets you easily estimate your electricity bills and compare providers. You just need to input your type of residence, average consumption, and preference for pricing models (fixed or discount off regulated tariff).

Using that calculator, let’s find out what are the cheapest retailers for a 4-room HDB flat with an assumed average consumption of 360 kWh / month.

Contents

  1. Cheapest fixed price electricity plans
  2. Cheapest “discount off regulated tariff” electricity plans
  3. Non-standard electricity plans & promotions 
  4. How are electricity bills calculated by retailers?

 

Cheapest electricity retailers for fixed price plans

For these price plans, you pay a fixed price (calculated per kWh) for the duration of your contract. The rate is independent of the regulated tariff, and is applied to your total electricity consumption (regardless of what time you use it).

Electricity retailer Fixed price (per kWh) Contract duration Estimated monthly bill
Union Power $0.1760 12 months $63.36
Geneco $0.1762 6 months $63.43
PacificLight Energy $0.1766 12 months $63.58
Senoko Energy  $0.1768 12 months $63.65
Union Power $0.1770 24 months $63.72

For the past few quarters, the cheapest fixed rate electricity plan used to be the “Give Us A Try” plan by Geneco, which offers $0.1762 per kWh for a short lock-in period of 6 months.

However, Union Power has lowered their prices for their 1-year Fixed Saver 12 plan, which is now the lowest in the market at $0.1760 per kWh.

The difference between the two is only 0.02 cents, but Geneco’s contract period is half that of Union Power’s. Both Geneco and Union Power are under established power generation companies Seraya Energy and Union Group respectively, so rest assured that they’re not kucing-kurap electricity retailers.

You can pick depending on your preferred level of commitment: typically, optimists who don’t see any problem with a long-term commitment benefit the most from contract plans because the best rates are usually for the longest lock-in periods.

This is true for almost all types of contract plans: for example, the longer your fixed deposit tenure, the better your rates are likely to be.

Coming in third is PacificLight Energy with their Savvy Saver and Sunny Side-Up 12m plans ($0.1766 per kWh). They’re both the same price and have the same 1-year contract — the difference is that Sunny Side-Up is a green plan that comes with Renewable Energy Certificates (REC).

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Cheapest electricity retailers for “discount off regulated tariff” price plans

For this type of plan, you get a fixed discount off the regulated tariff set by the Electricity Market Authority (EMA), which is currently $0.2594 per kWh (1 Jan to 31 Mar 2020). You pay a floating rate, subject to the tariff’s quarterly fluctuations. In other words, your bill will always be X% cheaper than if you opted for SP.

This seems like the most popular pricing model. Perhaps it’s because the tariff is supposed to be a “fair price” set by EMA anyway so any discount off it seems good enough. Pick this only if you don’t mind quarterly fluctuations in your electricity bill.

Electricity retailer Discount off regulated tariff Contract duration Estimated monthly bill
Ohm Energy 25% off 6 or 12 months $70.04 
Diamond Electric 25% off 12 months $70.04
PacificLight Energy  25% off 12 months $70.04
Union Power 25% off 6 or 24 months $70.04
Sunseap Energy 23% off 6, 12 or 12 months   $71.91

4 out of the top 5 cheapest electricity retailers in this category offer 25% off the tariff, which is the currently the highest discount in the market. The fixed rate plans offer up to 32% off the tariff though, so if you look at the final bill, you’ll find that it’s still a little bit more expensive.

For the shortest contract period (6 months), go for Ohm Energy‘s “Ohm Discount” or Union Power’s “Trial Saver 6”.

If you don’t mind commiting for a year, you can choose from Diamond Electric’s “Sure Save Plus Rebate” and PacificLight Energy’s “Confirm Save 12m”. If you’re absolutely convinced that 25% off the tariff is the best deal you can get for a long time, go ahead and lock it in with Union Power’s “Dual Value Saver 24” 2-year plan.

If you want to go green, you can consider Sunseap’s “Sunseap-One” plans. Those are slightly more expensive (23% discounts, as opposed to 25%), but it uses 1% solar energy. It’s the least eco-friendly of their plans (the others are 50% to 100% solar energy), but it’s also the cheapest. It’s the same price whether you choose to lock it in for 6, 12 or 24 months.

At this point, I should also mention that the “household names” like Keppel Electric, Sembcorp etc. aren’t quite as competitive for both fixed and discounted standard plans. It seems the younger brands are presently dominating the scene.

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Other non-standard price plans – “peak & off-peak”, free gifts & more promotions

In addition to the standard plans, some retailers offer non-standard packages to cater to different profiles of users so be sure to check their official websites when picking a plan.

A popular one is the “peak and off-peak” pricing, which splits the day into 2 time slots — day and night — charging different rates for it. So if you can use most of your electricity during off-peak hours, you can enjoy cheaper prices.

Other non-standard plans include handing out cash rebates (usually calculated based on the average of a few months), free gifts (like iPads!), and discounted prices when bundled with other products.

The retailers seem reasonably aggressive with their prices and promotions, but while some even advertise “promo codes”, they rarely offer additional discounts on top of their electricity prices.

In general, most of them give just you vouchers or rebates on your Nth bill, but some reward you for paying with your UOB or OCBC credit/debit cards too.

I don’t really care — and neither should you — because these promotions are seasonal and change from week to week, roadshow to roadshow. The cheaper prices should be incentive enough for you to make the switch from SP.

 

What is Transmission Loss Factor?

When the Open Electricity Market first launched, it was really difficult to find out which electricity plan is really the cheapest because some of them were complicated by this troublesome thing called Transmission Loss Factor.

When power is delivered to your home, a certain percentage of it is “lost”, and different retailers dealt with this loss in different ways. Some factored the loss into their rates, while others left it as a surprise for their customers.

However, since November 2018, most retailers have standardised their billing calculation remain competitive. This means that, for those of us not gifted in Maths, we no longer have to do complicated calculations to figure out how much exactly electricity costs. Yay!

Still, these things are always subject to change, so be kiasu and please double-check your contract to make sure. If you’re not sure about how your preferred retailer calculates your consumption, please give them a call.

Just in case you’re curious, here are the published Transmission Loss Factors, which can be found on the OEM website.

Load Transmission Loss Factors (from 1 Apr 2019)
230kV / 400kV 1.0
66kV 1.0
22kV 1.004290
6.6kV 1.018588
230V 1.031651

Singapore’s power is delivered at 230V, i.e. the TLF is 1.031651 currently. There are two forms of electricity billing: Either according to the meter, or loss-adjusted billing.

In general, billing according to the metered reading is more straightforward and cheaper than loss adjusted readings. No hidden charge mah. You just pay the X price multiplied by your consumption. For example, $0.2594 X 360 kWh = $93.34. That’s it, no need to think.

For loss-adjusted billing, you need take the TLF and multiply it to your total consumption. So it would instead be: $0.2594 X 360 kWh X 1.031651 = $96.34. That’s $3 more.

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So there you have it – will you decide to stay with SP Group or switch to these new electricity retailers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below! 

 

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