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 in full swing – by May 2019 all households should be 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 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 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 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 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.
- How are electricity bills calculated by retailers?
- Cheapest fixed price electricity plans
- Cheapest “discount off regulated tariff” electricity plans
- Non-standard electricity plans & 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, $0.2552 X 360 kWh = $91.87. 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: $0.2552 X 360 kWh X 1.034930 = $95.10. That’s about $3 more.
During the soft launch, about half the retailers practised loss adjusted billing. However, since the OEM’s official launch on 1 November 2018, 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 an 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 – iSwitch, ES Power & Senoko 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|
|ES Power||$0.1794||24 months||$64.58|
|Senoko Energy||$0.1795||24 months||$64.62|
|Best Electricity||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
|Keppel Electric||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
|Ohm Energy||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
|Sembcorp Power||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
|Seraya Energy Pte Ltd (Geneco)||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
|Sunseap Energy||$0.1798||24 months||$64.73|
Optimists who don’t see any problem with a long-term commitment can benefit from the best rates for 2-year contracts. This is totally expected, because the retailers want to lock down your business.
Surprisingly though, the cheapest fixed plan of the moment is by newcomer iSwitch, which offers $0.1766 per kWh for a reasonable lock-in period of 1 year. It’s super worth it – 30% cheaper than the tariff rate.
However, one thing to consider is that iSwitch is a newbie so some may not feel comfortable signing a long-term contract with them. The electricity retailer scene is still quite volatile, and quite recently, Red Dot Power exited the market. It was not part of OEM, but it did participate in the soft launch and served 120 residential households.
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.
Aside from the top 3, the rest of the retailers are quite competitively priced. In fact, Best Electricity, Keppel Electric, Ohm Energy, Sembcorp Power, Geneco and Sunseap all have the same 24-month fixed plan pricing.
If you prefer more established names, you can choose Sembcorp Power or Keppel Electric. They’re only marginally more expensive than the cheapest few (in this example, the difference is only a dollar).
Cheapest “discount off regulated tariff” price plans – Ohm Energy, Diamond Electric & ES Power
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|
|Ohm Energy||25% off||6 and 12 months||$68.90|
|Diamond Electric||24% off||12 months||$69.82|
|ES Power||23.20% off||24 months||$70.56|
|ES Power||23% off||12 months||$70.74|
|Sunseap Energy||23% off||6, 12 and 24 months||$70.74|
The most value-for-money rate for this category is offered by Ohm Energy, who gives you a confirm-plus-chop 25% off the tariff whether you opt for the 6- or 12-month contracts.
Note that the 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.
25% is the highest-in-market for this discounted category, but it is lower than what the fixed rate plans are currently offering (effectively up to 30% off this quarter’s tariff).
Still, it’s pretty neat, especially the 6-month plan. Not only is their price the lowest, the required contract duration is also the shortest – way to go Ohm Energy. 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 Ohm Energy and Diamond Electric , 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.
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.
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!
The post SembCorp vs Keppel vs Senoko vs Others - Which One Offers the Cheapest Electricity Plan? appeared first on the MoneySmart blog.
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