Before the Open Electricity Market (OEM) was launched, Singaporeans’ only option for getting access to electricity was via Singapore Power (SP Group). For many of us, it had never crossed our minds that an open market is possible.
First launched in November 2018, there were, at a point in 2020, as many as 20 electricity retailers in Singapore. Today, we only have nine retailers left. For the sceptics and those who think the change is too much of a fuss, Planner Bee will be sharing what exactly is the OEM, how it benefits your household, and tips on how to save more.
Energy Market Authority and Open Electricity Market
The Energy Market Authority (EMA) is “the government agency that oversees Singapore’s electricity and gas sectors. EMA’s main goals are to ensure a reliable and secure energy supply, promote effective competition in the energy market and develop a dynamic energy sector in Singapore.”
In hindsight, the OEM is “an initiative by the Energy Market Authority that allows you to enjoy more choices and flexibility when buying electricity. You can benefit from competitive pricing and innovative offers from retailers.”
Through the OEM, consumers can buy electricity in three ways:
- Via SP Group at the regulated tariff with no additional action required.
- Via an electricity retailer approved by the government
- On the electricity wholesale market “at half-hourly wholesale electricity prices through SP Group”
As the third option is much more complicated, Singaporeans usually opt for option one or two when it comes to their electricity purchases.
Electricity retailers in Singapore
As of January 2023, Singapore has nine electricity retailers, excluding the default SP Group. They are:
- Pacific Light Energy Pte Ltd
- Geneco (by Seraya Energy Pte Ltd)
- Keppel Electric Pte Ltd
- Diamond Energy Pte Ltd
- Senoko Energy Supply Pte Ltd
- Sembcorp Power Pte Ltd
- Sunseap Energy Pte Ltd
- Tuas Power Supply Pte Ltd
- Union Power Pte Ltd
Some electricity retailers such as Keppel Electric, Pacific Light Energy, and Geneco get their power directly from their parent companies which are power generators while others are purely retailers that purchase energy off the wholesale market. SP Group, which runs the energy grid, then delivers the energy to residences across Singapore.
Regardless of how they get the energy, each of these retailers has its own price plans, be it pay-as-you-use or 6/12/24-month contracts. Some also offer special plans such as Pacific Light’s 9-to-9, which offers two price points for electricity consumption during certain hours.
It is also reassuring to know that your retailer “will notify you at least 10 business days before your contract is due to expire,” giving you time to research and shop around for your next contract. If no decision is made before your contract expires, you will be switched back to “SP Group at the regulated tariff upon contract expiry.” There will not be any electricity disruption should you decide to change retailers or switch back to SP Group.
Benefits of switching to OEM
With the OEM, there are a number of benefits for Singapore residents.
1. Competition brings innovation
Many electricity retailers have started offering Green Energy on top of regular electricity plans. Senoko Energy Supply currently offers LifeGreen24, promising 100% carbon-neutral electricity and Keppel Electric’s ecoGreen24 which is a “100% Green Energy Plan powered by solar panels”.
2. Competition brings better discounts
To break the monopoly on Singapore’s electricity market, electricity retailers have to provide competitive prices to attract new customers, many of whom are afraid to switch away from SP Group. This also leads to various price plans, referral cashback schemes, and credit card discounts, which are all beneficial to consumers and were not available when SP Group was the only electricity provider in Singapore.
3. Locked-in prices
Locked-in prices are perhaps the top benefit in this list, especially with how electricity prices have been on a steady increase over the past few years. As everyone starts to come out into a post-pandemic world, focusing on intense economic recovery, the high demand and tight natural gas supply created a huge jump in electricity prices. According to the EMA, “Singapore relies on imported natural gas for around 95% of our electricity supply”, which inevitably caused Singaporeans to see an increase in their electricity prices.
However, as many retailers offer up to 24-month contracts at a previously agreed price, you will most likely be paying at a reduced rate for the following months until your next renewal.
For example, when I renewed my Pacific Light Energy 24-month contract in December 2020, I committed to paying S$0.1764/kWh (GST-inclusive). As electricity prices continued to climb in the next two years, I continued to enjoy the discounted rate without an increase in prices. When it was time for renewal in November 2022, the cheapest plan became S$0.313/kWh (GST-inclusive) for the 24-month contract.
How to save more with OEM
For those who are still using SP Group or even if you have already made the switch and contract renewal is near, this section is for you!
First, always use the official tool to compare the current OEM plans available. The tool allows you to not only see the plans available and how much they charge, but also gives you an estimated monthly bill based on your average monthly electricity consumption.
Next, check out the energy retailers’ official sites for credit card discounts. Pacific Light Energy provides up to S$310 in rebates for UOB cardholders, Senoko Energy has up to S$160 in rebates for a variety of credit cards, and Sembcorp Power offers up to 2% cash rebates with your POSB Everyday Card.
There are also many seasonal discounts including giveaways and upsized cashback, such as Seneko Energy’s Chinese New Year lucky draw. If you are keen to switch to the OEM, it is also wise to ask around for referrals as you can get up to S$50 in extra rebates for you and your referrer, depending on the retailer.
The savings do not end at just your electricity bills. Many of these retailers also partner with F&B, retail, and insurance companies to provide value-added services to their customers, offering discounts by showing your bills to these companies.
All in all, whether you make the switch to a retailer in the OEM or remain with SP Group, choosing the right plan that best suits your household needs is important in an economy where prices are constantly fluctuating. Alternatively, try out Planner Bee’s free money management app to track and control your finances. Download Planner Bee here: iOS, Android.