Here I am. Back again in the conversation about electricity retailers… because I’m officially a grown adult who needs to start paying my own electricity bills. With the Open Electricity Market (OEM) initiative launching yesterday (1 Nov 2018), there are 3 camps of shoppers in a frenzy:
(a) The ones that are loyal to SP Services,
(b) the ones that want to switch out from SP but are only considering the established players like SembCorp Power, Keppel Electric and Senoko Energy, and
(c) The adventurous lot who are willing to try “unknown brand” retailers like Best Electricity and iSwitch.
If at this point you catch no ball, read our FAQ guide on making the switch from Singapore Powers (SP) here.
How do you choose an electricity price package!?
This is a turning point in history. Up until now, electricity was provided by SP (Singapore Power) and all we had to do was pay our bills.
But now, there are 13 electricity retailers with published prices offering 2 main types of pricing models… that means almost 30 electricity packages to compare. Headache right? To get you started, here are 3 steps to help you narrow down the options.
Step 1: Decide if you want a (a) fixed price plan, (b) discount of 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.
Pssst… To further maximise your savings, scroll all the way down: I’ve included a list of all the current promo codes.
- How are electricity bills calculated by retailers?
- Cheapest fixed price electricity plans
- Cheapest “discount off regulated tariff” electricity plans
- Non-standard electricity plans
- Electricity retailer promo codes and promotions
Firstly, how are electricity bills even calculated?
Maths isn’t my best subject, so I was hoping for an easy way to find out which electricity plan is the cheapest. Unfortunately, it turns out that electricity prices are complicated by this troublesome thing called Transmission Loss Factor.
What is Transmission Loss Factors (TLF)?
There are two ways you can be billed for your electricity usage – metered or loss adjusted.
This is because, when power is delivered to your home, a certain percentage of it is “lost”. Metered ignores the transmission loss, while loss adjusted adds it back in.
The TLF is published, and you can search it up. For your convenience, here it is:
|Load||Transmission Loss Factors (from 1 Apr 2018 to now)|
|230kV / 400kV||1.0|
Singapore’s power is delivered at 230V. For 230V, the TLF is currently 1.034930.
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, $0.2582 X 360 kWh = $92.95. 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: $0.2582 X 360 kWh X 1.034930 = $96.20. That’s $4 more.
During the soft launch, about half the retailers practised loss adjusted billing. However, since the OEM’s official launch on 1 November, most of them have switched to metered billing to remain competitive.
Take note, that ES Power and Sunseap energy do not explicitly state what readings they use, but they do state that the readings are taken from SP Powers.
Currently, SP Powers seems to be the only one who uses loss adjusted readings, so if you’re not sure about how ES Power and Sunseap calculate the consumption, please give them a call.
Because these things are always subject to change, be kiasu and please double-check your contract to make sure you know if you’re signing up for metered or loss adjusted billing.
For a better gauge of how each retailer compares, OEM has a newly released online calculator for customers to easily estimate their electricity bills. 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.
Cheapest fixed price plans – Sembcorp Power, Geneco & Sunseap Energy
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|
|Sembcorp Power||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
|Seraya Energy Pte Ltd (Geneco)||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
|Sunseap Energy||$0.1803||6 months||$64.91|
|Ohm Energy||$0.1814||24 months||$65.30|
|Senoko Energy||$0.1846||24 months||$66.46|
Optimists who don’t see any problem with a long-term commitment can benefit from the current best rates. This is totally expected, because the retailers want to lock down your business.
The cheapest fixed plans are currently by Sembcorp Power and Geneco (by Seraya Energy Pte Ltd). Both use metered readings, so you don’t need to worry about extra costs incurred due to the TLF.
Their price of $0.1798 is 30% cheaper than the current tariff of $0.2582 per kWh.
However, to score those low rates, you need to commit for 24 months, which is pretty long. That said, both Sembcorp and Geneco are established names in the industry, so in my humble opinion – quite safe lah.
If you’re still apprehensive and prefer a shorter contract, you can go for Sunseap Energy. The prices are only marginally higher – for the case-study it only resulted in an $0.18 difference – but the lock-in period is 4 times shorter (6 months).
Cheapest “discount off regulated tariff” price plans – Sunseap Energy, Diamond Electric & Ohm Energy
For this type of plan, you get a fixed discount off the regulated tariff set by the Electricity Market Authority (EMA). 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.
Personally, this is my preferred pricing model. The tariff is supposed to be a “fair price” set by EMA anyway so any discount off it is good enough for me. 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|
|Sunseap Energy||23% off||6 months||$71.57|
|Diamond Electric||22.5% off||12 months||$72.04|
|Ohm Energy||22% off||12 months||$72.50|
|ES Power||21.8% off||12 months & 24 months||$72.69|
|Best Electricity||21% off||24 months||$73.43|
Way ahead of the race is Sunseap Energy, which offers the highest-in-market discount of 23% off the regulated tariff. For this quarter (1 Oct to 31 Dec 2018), that’s $0.1988 per kWh. Not only is their price the lowest, the required contract duration is also the shortest – way to go Sunseap. I like your style.
If you want to go green, you can consider ES Power (Environmental Solutions (Asia) Pte Ltd). The above prices are for their GFREEDOM plans, which supply 100% carbon neutral electricity.
Their prices are only slightly steeper than Sunseap, Diamond Electric and Ohm Energy, so you can take it as paying a couple of cents more to do your bit for Mother Earth. Compared to the rest, they’re still reasonably cheap.
One thing to note though, ES Power’s price is the same for 12- and 24-month contracts, so don’t assume greater savings just because you’re willing to commit for the additional year.
Non-standard price plans – “peak & off-peak”, free gifts & more
In addition to the standard plans, some retailers offer non-standard packages to cater to different profiles of users.
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. Geneco, Keppel Electric and PacificLight are just a few of the retailers with such plans.
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.
Some retailers – like Ohm Energy – even offer discounted prices at the cost of a monthly subscription.
Best electricity retailer promo codes – updated 2 Nov 2018
|Electricity retailer||Promo code / promotion||Validity|
|Best Electricity Supply||Free $30 NTUC vouchers for 24-month plans||While stocks last|
|Diamond Electric||Security deposit waiver||5.55pm, 5 Nov 2018 (limited to first 555 customers only)|
|ES Power||Roadshow-exclusive freebies like flight tickets, vouchers and more.||5 Nov to 9 Dec 2018|
|Geneco||$20 GrabGifts voucher with promo code GRABGENECO||30 Nov 2018 (valid on all 12- and 24-month plans)|
|Geneco||Free AMI installation (worth $42.50)||Valid for the Good Night plan (peak & off-peak pricing)|
|iSwitch||300 points ($30) per successful friend referral||–|
|Keppel Electric||$20 off with promo code KE0020BR||–|
|Ohm Energy||Sign up and have your 2nd bill waived||Limited to first 300 customers|
|Ohm Energy||$20 off per successful friend referral||–|
|PacificLight||$62.06 off your 5th bill with promo code PLEUOB58 (UOB cardholders only)||31 Dec 2018|
|PacificLight||$42.80 off your 3rd bill with promo code TAKE40 (24-month plans only)||30 Nov 2018|
|PacificLight||$21.40 off your 3rd bill with promo code TAKE40 (12-month plans only)||30 Nov 2018|
|Sembcorp Power||Complimentary 12-month home insurance by Great Eastern||–|
|Sembcorp Power||Shopping vouchers||–|
|Sembcorp Power||$50 (24-month plans) or $25 (12-month plans) in energy credits which are used to offset your bill (NTUC members only)||11 Sep 2020|
|Senoko Energy||$35 rebate when you make recurring payments with your UOB card. Use promo code UOBSE35||31 Dec 2018|
|Senoko Energy||$30 rebate when you make recurring payments with your OCBC card||31 Dec 2018 (limited to first 3,000 customers only)|
|Tuas Power||$30 shopping vouchers with promo code TP30 (valid for the PowerDO 24 plan only)||Online sign-ups only, limited to first 100 customers only|
|Tuas Power||Free 6-month subscription to The Straits Times Digital with promo code TPNEWS (valid for 24- and 36-month plans only)||31 Dec 2018|
|Tuas Power||$20 NTUC voucher with each successful friend referral||Limited to first 500 referrals only|
Because we are right at the start of the OEM initiative, all the retailers are very aggressive with their prices and discounts. I don’t care if it means they’re burning a hole in their pockets – I’ll happily take all the promo codes I can get.
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.
So there you have it – will you decide to stay with SP Group or switch to these new players? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
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