Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Cheap Electricity from SP Group

Two months ago, I wrote about the difficulty getting out of Geneco, and my intention of returning to SP Group for my electricity. Sounds crazy? No. It can actually be cheaper. Now, I’ve finally got my electricity bill to show it.

When the government opened up the retail electricity market to residential consumers, many people left the regulated tariff plan from SP Group for the better rates offered by retailers. The new retailers are mostly middleman, although some of them are from the power generating companies themselves. They typically offered plans that gave a fixed flat rate, or a fixed discount off the regulated tariff. Some retailers also offered a wholesale electricity plan, but these come with surcharges.

I was surprised to learn from a friend that SP Group themselves also offer a wholesale electricity plan. The wholesale pricing is a bit complicated, but when you buy from SP Group, there are no extra surcharges (compared with similar plan from a retailer).

I now have a bill for about a three weeks (due to bill cycle). Would you care to know the effective electricity rate I’m getting?

For the partial month of June, my final effective electricity rate is 14.81 cents per kWh (before GST). [Security deposit is, of course, omitted from the calculation.]

The best rate from Geneco right now, which is probably among the best in the retail market at present, is 16.80 cents per kWh (before GST). This is provided you are a first time customer, and you sign up a 24 month contract.

My plan with SP Group has no contract. I can quit any time. How nice is that?

Here are some things you need to know about the wholesale electricity plan. First, the price of electricity changes every half hour. This price is known as the Uniform Singapore Energy Price (USEP), and you can look at historical data as well as forecast data from the Energy Market Company. The USEP price presently varies around 10 cents per kWh.

On top of USEP, you need to pay for transmission charges. This rate varies less frequently, but there are two prices: one for peak period and another for off-peak, and this is presently 5.44 cents and 4.12 cents per kWh respectively.

Now, those two components together make up the bulk of the electricity cost. As you can surmise by now, you stand to save a lot if you use electricity primarily during the times when the prices are low.

There is one component, the Vesting Contract Debit/Credit, that is variable, and only determined after the fact. The actual price, however, tends to be rather small, as you can see in my bill.

Finally, there are other charges:

  • Meter Reading and Data Management (typically fixed charge)
  • Market Development and Systems Charge
  • Retail Settlement Uplift

All of the above components are the same with the wholesale electricity plan from Ohm, for example. Ohm, however, levies an additional monthly fee on top of all of that.

Note that in the bill, SP Group has simplified the Electricity Supply Charges into a single rate, instead of showing every individual half-hourly detailed charging.

How do you switch to SP Group’s wholesale electricity plan? If you are still on SP Group, you can simply do so on their portal. If you are already with a retailer, you have to tell them you want to quit, and return to SP Group on their wholesale electricity plan. You can’t ask SP Group to “pull you over” like how retailers can “pull” you out of SP Group. You may have to take into considerations complications with your contract, renewal, and such, like the problems I encountered with Geneco.

If most of your electricity usage is mainly in the period with lower rates, the wholesale electricity plan may be good for you!

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