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Electricity Retailers in Singapore – Which Offers the Cheapest Electricity Price Plan?

sembcorp electricity retailers

Eugenia Liew

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Here I am. Back again in the conversation about electricity retailers in Singapore… because I’m officially a grown adult who needs to start paying my own electricity bills. The Open Electricity Market (OEM) initiative is officially in full swing – since 1 May 2019 all households are eligible to pick their preferred electricity provider – 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” electricity 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. Also, see our list of hidden costs to look out for.

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

How do you choose a new electricity retailer & plan?

This is a turning point in 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 13 electricity retailers with published prices offering 2 standard pricing models… that means almost 30 electricity packages to compare. Headache right? 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 a helpful 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
Geneco $0.1768 6 months $63.65
iSwitch $0.1769 12 months $63.68
Union Power $0.1770 24 months $63.72
Sunseap Energy $0.1775 24 months $63.90
Keppel Electric  $0.1798 24 months $64.73

Generally, optimists who don’t see any problem with a long-term commitment can benefit from the best rates for 2-year contracts.

Surprisingly though, the cheapest fixed rate plan is the “Give Us A Try” plan by Geneco, which offers $0.1768 per kWh for a short lock-in period of 6 months. Geneco is under the power generation giant Seraya Energy, which may be reassuring news for some. Although their name may sound new, they’re not some kucing-kurap electricity retailer okay.

Coming in second is newcomer iSwitch with their “‘Chope’ the Rate” 12-month plan ($0.1769 per kWh). Unlike Geneco, iSwitch really is quite the newbie. The Red Dot Power incident may “scare” some consumers, but according to EMA, there are stringent regulations in place to ensure that even if a retailer goes bust, their customers’ power supply will not be disrupted. For Red Dot, their accounts were transferred to SP Powers.

Union Power is third (FIXED SAVER 24 months) at $0.1770 for 24 months. If you think electricity prices are only going to increase, then you may prefer choosing this 2-year contract to lock down these relatively low rates.

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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 $0.2592 per kWh (1 Jun to 30 Sep 2019). 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
Diamond Electric 25% off 12 months $70
Sunseap Energy 23% off 6, 12 or 24 months $71.90
iSwitch 22.80% off 12 months $72
Best Electricity Supply, Keppel Electric, PacificLight Energy, Geneco, Tuas Power Supply, Union Power    22% off 24 months $72.80

25% is the highest-in-market for this discounted category, but if you compare the final bill, it’s still a little bit more expensive than what the fixed rate plans are currently offering.

Still, it’s pretty neat, especially Ohm Energy‘s “Ohm Discount” 6-month plan. Not only is their price the lowest, the required contract duration is also the shortest – way to go Ohm Energy.

Take note that the price is the same for both 6- and 12-month contracts, so don’t assume greater savings just because you’re willing to make a longer commitment. Diamond Electric’s “Sure Save Plus Rebate” offers the same deal, except you need to commit for 12 months.

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.

I should also point out that the “household names” like Keppel Electric, Sembcorp etc. aren’t quite as competitive here as they are for fixed price plans. It seems the younger brands are dominating this category.

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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 Powers.

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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, $0.2592 X 360 kWh = $93.30. 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: $0.2592 X 360 kWh X 1.031651 = $96.30. That’s about $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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Choosing an Electricity Retailer in Singapore – Why You Should Look Beyond Just the Advertised Rates

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Eugenia Liew

I’m a 90s millennial who’s starting to realise that #adulting is more expensive than it seems on Instagram. When I’m not writing for MoneySmart, I’m usually playing with drain-dwelling stray cats or shopping at Sephora.