The Online Citizen

Electricity: Why does Singapore’s tariff raising ranked 2nd amongst 21 cities?

October 01
21:12 2009

Leong Sze Hian


(Top: Singapore ranks 2nd, Credit: CLP Power)

I refer to the report “Electricity tariffs for households to go up by 12.5% in Q4″ (CNA, Sep 29).

According to Hong Kong electricity producer CLP Power, which supplies about 80 per cent of Hong Kong’s power needs, in a media statement last year (Sep 2008), Singapore was ranked second among 21 cities for raising electricity tariffs most, since 2005.

For example, Singapore’s tariff in the table, rose by about 60 plus per cent, compared to about 15 per cent and 10 plus per cent for Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur respectively.

Singapore Power’s (SP) Net Profit After Taxation for FY08/09 was $798 million, with revenue of $6,618 million.

Since SP provides the delivery of electricity, what about the profits of the power generation companies? Three of Temasek’s power generation companies have been sold to foreign companies.

For example, one of Singapore’s power companies, Seraya Power, was sold to YTL Corporation in Malaysia.

According to YTL’s web site, YTL Power registered a 43.8% jump in revenue for the 12 months ended 30 June 2009, due principally to the consolidation of approximately 4 months’ results from PowerSeraya, with PowerSeraya contributing RM197.4 million (US$56.4 m) in profit before tax.

As this is the profit from just one power generation company, how much in total profits do all the power generation companies make in a year?

And how much of these profits end up in the hands of foreign companies?

With about 117,000 unemployed residents as of June, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans suffering from reduced earnings in the current economic downturn, isn’t it time for a review of our national utilities policies, which allow the power sector to make huge profits, and to sell companies to foreign companies, without the need for parliamentary debate or approval?

Singapore’s tariff for the quarter starting in October, will be 21.69 cents per kilowatt hour, compared to Hong Kong’s 75.7 HK Cents (S$0.136) to 95.5 HK Cents (S$0.172) depending on consumption volume.

By the way, Hong Kong’s CLP Power froze and maintained their tariff for nine consecutive years until 2007.

  • aki

    Dayight robbery! So clear for us to see! Singaporeans please wake up!

  • aki

    Daylight robbery! Because Singaporeans are made to pay for TH and GIC losses. Why must Singaporeans always bear the brunt for the small number of elitist pigs!

  • andrew leung

    The government should help subsidize power and utilities. How can they sell to foreign companies. They need to explain this to Singaporeans.

  • X

    Again? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the country in recession? Shouldn’t the government be chalking up strategies to help the needy, or the disabled instead of coming up with tariff hikes?

    This is utterly unacceptable; why are we paying so much when it’s obviously possible for hk to keep their rates low?

    I hate monopolies.

  • A Tan

    Thanks for this kind of comparison stuff.

    Keep this up and TOC’s readership will stabilise.

  • FedUp

    why were our power stations sold off? the sales fattened the coffers but did not bring any tangible benefits to the ordinary singaporeans. in fact, when national assets are privatised in singapore over the years, i get the impression that singaporeans pay even more to use them.

    like electricity, much of the increase in living costs is attributable to intentional actions of the pap government or temasek.

    we’re being screwed either openly or insidiously, and in all areas.

  • Merobok

    The trick is to raise now and just before the election, lower to a comfortable level and then after the election….spiral upwards! This pattern is getting stale!

  • slohand2

    SP Power earnings is enormous, given that their role is just the delivery and billing. Wonder if they will seek a public listing on this? On second thoughts, I realise they dont necessary share good things. I come to a point where even if they go public, it would mean the company is past the shelf life. Thats how sceptical I am.

  • man against the tank

    Ranked number 2??? Gee I guess they will not rest till the tariff is ranked number 1…since they want to be number one in everything.

  • massivelosses_sohow?

    first they raised prices saying oil prices went up and up till $150 a barrel. then when oil prices down to $30, they did not do much until everyone was writing to forums to complain.

    then raymond lim said there is no correlation between electricity hikes and oil prices. then a lot say, electricity would go up after f1 race.

    then they say oil prices up, so electricity price has to go up. and indeed electricity price went up after f1.

    our electricty prices one of the highest in the world now, and our ministers’ pay is highest. any correlation?

  • Time to act

    Thank you Leong Sze Hian for bringing this to TOC

    The PAP government allowing the sale of public utility to a foreign firm to make massive profits from its people.

    The root of the problem (high-cost-of-living in Singapore) is the PAP government turning Singapore into Singapore Incorporated so that famiLEE and its cronies can exploit the people of Singapore.

    We MUST vote out the PAP government under LKY and LHL.

  • RuiKen

    Soon, our kids will have to study by the lights of the common corridor of our 3-room flats.

    Soon, we have to go to the coffeeshops to watch TV.

    Soon our wives will be washing clothes at MacRitche instead.

    The sad truth is, even if we vote out the PAP, we can’t get back our power stations critical to our defense and sovereignty.

    Diluting out local population, selling of national assets, losing billions of hard-earned reserves. Yet LKY is sure he’ll win the next 2 elections. Does he think we are stupid or are we really stupid?

  • Yamsasam

    Again, I see this as another failure of govt policy.

    Public utilities should not be run in a for-profit business manner. It is even more ridiculous that our electricity is priced against crude oil but 80% of our electricity is generated by natural gas.

    With such exorbitant profit to be made, no wonder foreign companies are falling over themselves bidding for the gencos.

    And what happened to the money earned from such asset sale belonging to SIngaporeans ? How much of it is used to benefit Singaporeans ?

  • Passerby

    Another example of “GOOD ON PAPER” only. FIrst Class all the way indeed as one of m friends said not long ago being Fxxx Royally.

  • NaBayCheeseBy

    “With about 117,000 unemployed residents as of June, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans suffering from reduced earnings in the current economic downturn, isn’t it time for a review of our national utilities policies, which allow the power sector to make huge profits, and to sell companies to foreign companies, without the need for parliamentary debate or approval? ”

    The author is right that we need to review the national utilities policies which allow the government to sell utilities company without parliamentary approval. But unless we have at least 30 opposition MPs in parliament or better vote the PAP out, otherwise debating or getting approval in parliementary is meaningless. It will still be passed like what is happening now.

  • Fortune-teller

    It would be good if someone can do a comparison between the cost of electricity for each country to the average wages earned by their citizens.

    I anticipate that Singapore would be quite high up the rankings for this ratio too.

  • anonymous

    Check out these press releases regarding electricity transmission (i.e. delivery) charges which are collected by Singapore Power (SP):

    In 2006, there was a 1% reduction for domestic customers (Low Tension Small).
    http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/PR/Default.asp?PRID=365&Path=http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/publish/PR/Files/Approve/PR29_3365.html

    In 2007, there was another 1% reduction for domestic customers (Low Tension Small).
    http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/PR/Default.asp?PRID=384&Path=http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/publish/PR/Files/Approve/PR26_3384.html

    In 2008, there was a 8% reduction for domestic customers(Low Tension Small).
    http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/PR/Default.asp?PRID=416&Path=http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/publish/PR/Files/Approve/PR29_9416.html

    Overall, it seems that the increase in electricity tariff is not due to any increase of electricity delivery charges collected by SP (i.e. the transportation or courier company). Most likely the generation companies (i.e. producers of electricity) are collecting all the increases in the electricity tariff.

    The irony is that the competition of several generation companies in the Singapore electricity market has not bring down the electricity price. A very interesting phenomenon!

  • Just wondering

    Most of our electricity is generated from natural gas. Is it not therefore ironic that, at a time when prices of natural gas are falling, tariffs for electricity in Singapore are going up? Bloomberg reports today that the price of natural gas in the US has dropped to US$4.466 per million British thermal units because of record stockpiles. The Energy Market Authority explains that the price paid for natural gas by the power generating companies in Singapore is tied to the price of fuel oil. Why is this so? I cannot help getting the feeling that we are being screwed somewhere.

    Bloomberg also shows that the wholesale price of electricity in the US has been around 3 to 4 US cents per kilowatt-hour for the past year. This could be due to the fact that a large part of their electricity is generated from cheap coal. Maybe we should have stuck to coal-fired power stations instead of going first to oil and now to natural gas. There is a lot of cheap coal available from places like Australia. So what if coal produces a lot of global warming gases? Why should a small country like Singapore penalize itself by using clean fuels when giants like the US, Australia and China continue to spew tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere?

  • anonymous

    Electricity transmission (delivery) charges has been reduced since 2003 till now.

    In 2003, it was 4% reduction for residential (domestic) customers (Low Tension)
    http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/PR/Default.asp?PRID=259&Path=http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/publish/PR/Files/Approve/PR26_3259.html

    In 2004, it was 1.2% reduction for residential customers (Low Tension Small)
    http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/PR/Default.asp?PRID=305&Path=http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/publish/PR/Files/Approve/PR27_4305.html

    In 2005, it was 1% reduction for residential customers (Low Tension Small)
    http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/PR/Default.asp?PRID=363&Path=http://www.singaporepower.com.sg/publish/PR/Files/Approve/PR22_3363.html

    All in all the total reduction of delivery charges to residential customers amounts to 4%(2003)+1.2%(2004)+1%(2005)+1%(2006)+1%(2007)+8%(2008)=16.2% reduction.

    So the transportation cost is not the culprit of electricity tariff increase.

  • The SS

    Weren’t the power gen companies in the portfolio of TH? If so, that explains why there’s no need for debate in Parliament…. btw.. what debate are we talking about anyway? Can the performances by MP’s be even called debate? More like attendance.

  • Why Why Why ???

    This article should send to local paper and ask them to publish. If not brother and sister here should spread the words and let every Singapore know the fact.

  • Ah Long Kia

    The Temasek sold off the 3 power generation companies to cover their losses from the investments. Now the foreign companies who own the power generation companies hv the control over the tariffs. The worst is that both the power generation companies and the Singapore Power (Money collecting agent) making huge profits. If I’m not wrong the oil prices dropped recently and yet the electricity tariffs rising, to me it don’t make sense.

  • What Change?

    Singapore is an economy, not a country.

  • Terkebil

    It would be useful for The Online Citizen to compile this kind of articles to be presented in a special Pre-elections Edition.

    Voters, Opposition candidates, as well as PAP candidate can then talk about these issues.

    It will also give the PAP candidates an opportunity to explain the matters to the voters.

    Voters can then make wise decisions while voting.

  • mr. Mister

    “Three of Temasek’s power generation companies have been sold to foreign companies.”

    These power stations and other utilities were built from scratch with the sweat, blood and money of our forefathers. They were then sold to TH for a miniscule amount on the pretext of privatisation. TH then sold them for huge profits in order to finance their failed investments.

    This is not right, the money gained should be returned to the public who have funded the building of these utilities, instead of falling into the hands of the elitist pigs.

  • Selamat Wong

    TOC, there is no need to Question or worry.

    Why?

    ‘cos singaporeans do not bother.

    It is also easy to CHANGE.

    The real factor is the People.

    In short, the people do not want change.

    Its really the people.

  • Selamat Wong

    so, i mean, if you want CHANGE, change the People’s thinking, not the authorities.

  • Legolas

    Higher tariffs because Temasek sold the power stations to foreigners. The power stations are now highly leveraged…..so they have to charge us more for electricity.

    Instead of holding on to critical local companies such as power companies, Temasek sold them to buy foreign banks.

  • Mikhail

    We should be the change agent ourselves.we also must helped the opposition too.

    we cant totally blame them for the lack of activeness.they need manpower too.we should come forward with the cause .

    we need to engage the people.i dun think they do not want change.maybe they are not informed.probably our duty to do.moreover,many of them do not own internet,therefore,not able to get a view of alternative view.

  • farnie

    only number 2?
    oh no we must buck up!

  • JW

    Selamat Wong, “In short, the people do not want change.”

    Some truth in what you’ve said.

    But the main thing is that the PAP government has made change almost impossible.

    For example the PAP government effectively owns all the newspapers (SPH), all the radio and TV stations. They don’t allow for independent newspapaers, neither TV nor radio stations.

    All the SPH newspapers are owned by the PAP (directy or indirectly). So what the people of Singapore hear are half-truths(lies), misrepresentations of opposition parties and self-praise of LKY, LHL and PAP ministers.

    Not many people read the TOC or bloggs on the internet to be better informed.

    If there is free-press in Singapore you can be sure the PAP will lose 50% of its seat in parliament in this coming election and be out of power within the next two elections.

  • Terrified

    Such comparison censored by Main Stream Media again?? Liu Tuck Yew said MSM is objective and unbiase and must read. Now see how they tried to veil important informations that affect all residents in Singapore. Anyway, every damning price hikes have to do with Jinx losing our billions of dollars and this is one fast track of recovering all the losses (need I repeat at the expenses of taxpayers again).

  • aygee

    Interesting piece.

    When Shin Corp, a key national asset was sold off to foreign companies, it led to the downfall of Thaksin.

    But i guess we’re in Singapore, things are different.

    These things about tariffs and public utilities dont matter to us. All we need is our house, our car, and our access to credit. Then we just focus on working hard to pay off those debts.

  • PaPfartUp

    You guys simply have not fully awake. Still asking or demanding things from the PAP. How come singaporean all so weak ?

    Vote the PAP out in the next election.

  • popcorn

    The selling off of our national assets reminds me of Lim Yew Hock, the ex Chief
    Minister of singapore’s preindependence days selling off Christmas islands.
    It’s sad for Singapore to have such leaders.

  • million-dollar question

    “Electricity: Why does Singapore’s tariff raising ranked 2nd amongst 21 cities?”

    This is a multi-million-dollar question that people up there will be hard pressed in coming out with a convincing pricing matrix (or rationale).

  • NaBayCheeseBy

    Legolas on October 2nd, 2009 10.39 am :
    “………Instead of holding on to critical local companies such as power companies, Temasek sold them to buy foreign banks. ”

    TH did not buy foreign banks. TH lost our money to foreign banks. Or is it correct to say that it is Singapore Government style of money laundering? Or legalised corruptions?

  • Lisk

    The Chinese, Japanese and South Koreans have been quick to sign long term gas contracts with Australia recently. Not surprisingly to see relatively lower tariffs for these 3 countries.

    Again, SG laggard. Only panic when supplies run out and have to purchase gas at higher prices from Indonesia.

  • ram

    For Singapore, 2nd is not good enough. PAP wants Singapore to be ranked no. 1. Expect more electricity increases till we beat London.

  • PMET

    anonymous, the one spewing all the discounts given.
    Don’t like that leh… put up the figures for the increases as well lah. Then can do meaningful comparison mah.

    Remember at one time, the increase was > 20 percent?
    Even the recent increase, when computed to the “MANY” years of decrease, almost wipe it out liow loh.

    The way you post, only focus on the decrease, is like looking at a crate of apples and counting only the good ones and ignoring the rotten once. Like that how to know overall, from one crate, how many good apples are taken out?

    Just focus on the decrease in price, no mention of the increase, no one will know what is the net result after all the increase is also computed into the equation.
    Defeat the purpose of comparing rite?

  • Yamamoto

    Geez…it ain’t surprising how they do stuff….HDB, power, ERP are stuff that helps to earn a big fat profit for them…and there is nothing much we can do when they increase with the “market” and never decrease with the market…

    I think they will continue to squeeze the people dry until it is past the tipping point, not for them but for the people

  • http://Nil Political Salesman

    At 34) million-dollar question.
    Electricity price increment have nothing to do with the world oil price nor commodities.
    Because U people vote for them, U give them absolute power to do so.
    Goh choke Tong has ever said U vote for me mean U agreed with my policy.
    So absolute power corrupt absolutly.
    So I hereby hope for this comming Election, Vote for more PAP.
    Long live PAP. Short life the People.

  • Mee Siam Mai Hum (100% original S’pore)

    Comparing the electricity tariffs for households today with that of before F1 is ‘not meaningful’, …. ‘If we did that, we’d be comparing many things that we did 20 years ago, do we want to go back 20 years?’ – Elite Marlboro

  • lesser mortal

    still AFFORDABLE mah…in fact i believed that we got market subsidised

  • theforgottongeneration

    @16) anonymous on October 2nd, 2009 9.15 am

    I think it is simply business. When power generation and delivery were together under SP, total margins were say X%. Now with privatization of the power generation, these companies also need to make a margin, say Y%. SP may still maintain X% margins even though it only deliver now. So consumers now pay X + Y % margins.

    If oil/natural gas prices go up, the increases to the consumers will be the corresponding increases to X and Y — i.e. a double whammer.

    Aside, we will always be tied to foreign imports of fuels (no natural resources lah). However, countries like Japan and very soon China have/are willing to pump billions into alternate energies, e.g. solar, to reduce such dependence. This is actually not a rocket science area; it just need large capital injection on a long-term basis. All successful countries adopting such new tech have found that it is impossible solely for the private sector to push such initiatives; govt involvement is paramount. But we should ask where does our billions goes? Remember that we have one of the highest GDP per capita in the world. Billions go into learning how to gamble? Sitting somewhere waiting for the upturn?

  • Philip

    So, the government should be running the power plants like before, or Temasek Holdings should continue to own them? Then the tariffs wouldn’t have gone up? I’m sure the government and TH would appreciate your votes of confidence in their management.

    From the inadequate information above, it seems that Hong Kong has price control on their electricity tariffs. So how are price controls paid for? T-A-X-E-S. Either way, you will have to pay for it. So why not pay for it directly for what you actually used, rather than paying partly for what others use (and not just for what you use)?

  • mice is nice

    wow, our tariffs so “competitive” hor, 1st runner up. lol…

    how come most of our salary not even top 5 in international rankings?? where is the ministerial quality answer??

  • YODI

    First they give you money and say they are supporting you in bad times. Then slowly but surely everything starts increasing. Now electricity is rising! Is the the government of the people by the people for the people or is it now the government of the people by the govenment for the government!

    Let the government raise all these during election time and see whether the people will vote them in. Does the government have the guts to do this and see if the people will vote them in on their track record.

    It’s time to raise our voices and let it be known to them that we wont stand for this.

  • mice is nice

    i think the govt will give rebaits or reduce price when election is nearer to make themselves look good.

  • http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/

    HK got their Cheap power from Daya bay Nuke. Our are gas. So its not that appropriate to compare with HK.

    The better comparison is Rome, which derive its power from Gas. Most of it from Russian Gazprom from various field in Turkemenistan to North Pole.
    few thousand km.

    Hence the transit fee its higher given the distance compared to us from Natuna field, S China Sea few hundreds km.

    There is no justification why ours must be higher than Rome.

  • anakin

    Good lah, complain all u want coz like the old man Lee said, PAP will win the next 2 election, coz you do not want your woman to work as maids in the neighbouring countries. Even airport tax is going up, at this rate you got no money to send your women overseas to work. Only in singapore can politicians say cocky things like that and get elected term after term. In singapore, there is no such thing as a government, it is a corporation and singaporeans are just mere cogs and to the PAP, elections are just a distraction as SM Goh said just before the IMF meeting.

  • Trevor Scores

    In reference to 44 :

    The TRUTH and the MYTH dilemma.

    Who really should pay the the T-A-X-E-S? My Answer : Everyone ( the poor and the rich – the poor pay his portion and the R-I-C-H pay their PROPER DUES.

    But then we want to welcome the rich and the Super Filthy rich, RIGHT?

    MYTH : We are a tax haven for the R-I-C-H so that the r-i-c-h can come in and BLESS all of us.

    THE TRUTH : How Blessed are the P-O-O-R now compared to 10-15 years ago.

    Then t-w-e-a-k the T-A-X- System to appear that the Lower middle class and below NO-NEED to pay INCOME taxes, so

    .. that the pay -as- you use ( INDIRECT) taxation would appear very noble and pragmatic. At Face Value that would be TRUE. However, in the actual scheme of things, it is a tool to extract M-O-R-E- and M-O-R-E from the P-O-O-R and the R-E-S-T of We the Citizens so that the R-I-C-H can still very easily afford to pay the exhorbitant pay as you use Charges while the R-E-S-T of us have to pay ‘em with our sweat and blood and tears, and also with holes in our pockets..

    Therefore are We, the REST of the Citizens being made to B-E-A-R much more than we proportionately can so that the R-I-C-H can enjoys the P-E-R-K-S of their low TAXATION?

    In short, are the Average F-O-L-K-S actually paying for the luxury of the R-I-C-H through the heavy indirect Taxation / charges, like the Utilities , Transport , Housing, Medical AND WHAT NOT ?

  • Trevor Scores

    It would be good if the people who churn out the policies to come into this Forum and help clarify matters without Bull-shitting.

    If there is TRUTH, I am prepared to be convinced.

  • Ω李

    It seems to be an arbitrary peg to the price of oil.

    I find it odd that businesses in every sector, or any business association for that matter, are not complaining more since they are the highest consumers of electricity.

    The army camps and civil service do not need to pay electricity do they?

  • Observer

    Remeber the movie “The Matrix”.

    You guys are the sole source of income to keep the PAP in power, i.e. you need to keep paying high prices for everything (COE, GST, ERP, transport fares, water bill, electricity), so as to afford them record high salaries and subsidies for FTs.

    Alternatively, you can choose to take the red pill……….

  • tiredsingaporean

    Goodness! the electricity tariff just went up by another 12.5%, are they going to kill all the singaporeans?

  • Debra Hong Mui Hoong

    #53 Observer,

    its fruitless to question their high, sorry, highest salaries in the world, including batam, jb an new york.

    the people accepted this. That is why since their highest salaries implemented, the people have never rejected them.

    just my humble version of the truth.

  • ApApA

    Our multi-millionair-elites still paying the same (relatively peanut rate), who really cares?!

  • sad singaporean

    they want to exploit us dry…….

  • SotongBall

    Minister for Raising Electricity Costs and Tarriffs for U Monkeys or in short RECTUM says that electricity is still Affordable and he offers an innovative solution to the rising tariffs; “It is the irresponsible Singaporeans who use so much electrcity that make the tariffs rise so high; the people should just use less electricity.”

  • Yamamoto

    49) http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/

    they use in oil prices to justify increase in electricity price, when in fact the generators are powered by natural gas and the price of gas has gone the other better way this time..

  • HoChing rules

    HC: hee hee, I anticipated this long time ago and timed the market perfectly….now the $$ is in my pocket and the problem is someone else’s…ha ha. I need to ring up my PR dept to make sure they sing praises how how smart I am….ha ha….there is nothing the people can do to me, because I rule!

  • Abino Hum Junior of Dow Wager

    Am I right to say for each and every issue raised or ever raised in the net,
    the People in general have always not Rejected the policies involved whatever they may be?

    So, whats the point of discussion?

    well done guys.

  • http://Nil Political Salesman

    At 35) popcorn
    P/s change your mindset ,Lim Yew Hock has not Authority to sell away Christmas Island. This is a properganda the PAP rumourd to coup down Lim Yew Hock in the early days. All the days it belongs to Australia. They allow us to collect sulphate for fertilizer. Later they has paid compensation of two million pound.
    Now U can see the PAP is selling our National Asset, Later the Whole Island.
    What compensation U going to get.
    Singapore is not a National yet. So he is the ‘Lord of this Island”. U have to pay heavy tax to the FamiLEE . The most greedy person in Political History. Smear a Million years in this FamiLEE .

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    As of June 2009, Denmark has the most expensive electricity tariff in the world with tax included, followed by Italy. Ireland has the highest pre-tax tariff. France has the lowest pre-tax price for electricity in Europe, at 4.75 Eurocents/kWh, and second-lowest price with tax of European countries.
    The following is a rough comparison of electricity tariffs of industrialised countries and territories around the world.

    Global Electricity Tariffs Comparison:

    Country/Territory US cents/1kWh :

    Belgium 11.43
    Canada 6.18
    Croatia 17.55
    Denmark 42.89
    Finland 6.95
    France 8.54
    Germany 13.16
    Hong Kong
    (Kowloon/ NT) 10.90 (HK Is.) 12.30
    Iceland 11.61
    Ireland 23.89
    Italy 36.74
    Malaysia 7.42
    Netherlands 12.62
    Perú 10.44
    Portugal 16.39
    Singapore 15.31
    Spain 10.35
    South Africa 3.56
    Sweden 6.60
    UK 11.16
    USA 9.28

  • Eric

    Thank you, KopitiamApek.

    We have to be careful about how we interpret the graph above. The graph refers to change over time, and not the absolute cost of electric power. We don’t know what is the base/reference cost of its calculations. So I think KopitiamApek did everyone a great service by surfacing this information. I think it’s important that we look at both the absolute cost of electric power and its change over time.

    I think that just focusing on the numbers hides a lot of other things too. For example, we have no idea of how the different countries/cities’ power markets are structured, their pricing systems and regulatory systems, and by what means is power generated, e.g., coal, natural gas or nuclear. All these considerations not only have economic impact but also environmental and social impact. We may be comparing apples to oranges for all we know.

    Nevertheless, like what Anonymous (#17) said, liberalizing the power market has not driven costs down in Singapore. It’s even less clear if the profits made have been plowed back to society. I don’t think the authorities mandated that requirement, even though electric power is not only an essential service, but also a public good. By going the way of privatization, it’s not entirely clear to what extent the benefits have internalized in the companies and the cost invariably externalized to the public, and vice versa.

    It’s time for us to re-examine the rhetoric of competition and cost and their true impact on Singapore. Too often the authorities have been parroting the conventional wisdom that competition drives down cost and benefits consumers. They argue that our open economy would allow the rising tide to raise all boats. It seems the tide is definitely rising and it may just have capsized several boats in its wake.

    Sincerely,
    Eric

  • http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/ http://vonhayek.blogspot.com/

    There is no precedence that a sovereign country can sell off pieces of its strategic industry without prior serious public debate.

    France Sarkozy has defended Suez from Italy’s Enel.

    Furthermore the government need to explain y our electric bill is more expensive than Rome.

    Our electrical energy mix is similar to Rome.

    Rome need to pay transit of thousands km from gas field of Turkmensitan to North pole. We got our gas from Natuna few hundred km.

    Besides, Russia Gazprom has reviewed gas price quite oftenly.

    We have lock in Indonesian gas during 1998 when Indonesia is in trouble. Basically, that deal should be a steal and should hedge us greatly from future price fluctuation.

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    66) Eric

    Thank you for sharing too. I am an avocate for facts. Die die I must have facts : )
    I am always troubled by the the zest in which some articles are posted without checking the facts. And equally troubled when my request for them to be clarified falls on to deaf ears and blind eyes.
    And it made all the discusions that follows waht is not clarified quite pointless and out of context..

    I am not comfortable at all that our power generating plants are now in foreign ownership. Never could understand the rationale for selling them away.

    Yes, you are right in that the cost is much dependent on the mode of power generation and if you are a oil/gas/coal producing country. It makea world of a different.

    If we have a 3 gorges dam, (damn it, we don’t, we will be gorgeous if we do)) or a nuclear power plant, our price structure would have been different.

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    66) Eric

    I am not comfortable at all that our power generating plants are now in foreign ownership. Never could understand the rationale for selling them away.

    Yes, you are right in that the cost is much dependent on the mode of power generation and if you are a oil/gas/coal producing country. It makea world of a different.

    If we have a 3 gorges dam, (damn it, we don’t, we will be gorgeous if we do)) or a nuclear power plant, our price structure would have been different.

  • Ω李

    Would KopitiamApek like to verify his sources? Where is Australia figures?

    The relevant comparisons are:

    Malaysia 7.42
    Hong Kong
    (Kowloon/ NT) 10.90 (HK Is.) 12.30
    Singapore 15.31

    If I am not mistaken, this figure is pretax.

  • I COPYRIGHT THIS IDEA here

    Electricity for a small island should be cheap IF adopt my simple idea.

    1. setup nuclear power generator station in one of the furthest islands we can access, eg. rent or buy if not owned.

    2. tunnel the power to the island.

    More than enough.

    But only if you vote for my idea. pun intended

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    70) Ω李

    Australia 7.11

    source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_tariff

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    71) I COPYRIGHT THIS IDEA

    1. setup nuclear power generator station in one of the furthest islands we can access,

    Great idea. And it will be clean power for long long time, without the worry of fuel/gas prices, not at the mercy of another party. I understand the technology now allows nuclear power generator station to be realtively safe.

    2. tunnel the power to the island.
    That is not a problem. It is doable. The power from Seraya is already via an underground service tunnel beneath the Jurong Island causeway.

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    66) Eric

    If we have a 3 gorges dam, (damn it, we don’t, we will be gorgeous if we do)) or a nuclear power plant, our price structure would have been different.

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    66) Eric

    I am not comfortable at all that our power generating plants are now in foreign ownership. Never could understand the rationale for selling them away.

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    66) Eric

    Yes, you are right in that the cost is much dependent on the mode of power generation and if you are a oil/gas/coal producing country. It makea world of a different.

  • I COPYRIGHT THIS IDEA

    #71 KopitiamApek,

    Thats true. Unlike Chernobil, we do not need a large one. The smallest one will do. The excess GigaWatts can be sold to indonesia and bali etc.

    Singapore will then become a country with Electric Cars.

    Again, I know these are simple ideas.
    I still like to declare that I said this here on TOC at this date.
    Else someone claim credit later on. Not that there is any credit I would like to have. Just do not like somene else to take easy credit ;) .

    Ideas are always simple when the actual implementation is done by others.
    Then u take the credit.

    I also can .

    Remember, Singapore is a tiny little country unlike others. Its easier.

    So, if people Vote for my idea…

  • Horlando Moon

    A nuclear power plant can be built with existing latest improved technology borrowed from other countries.

    A small plant is more than enough. Smaller could also mean even safer in a way.

    This does not take up as much land space as a solar-related power plant.

    sg can indeed have Electric Cars .
    But then oil business is hit. So i do not think the sacred cow will be slaughtered so easily.

  • SpongeBoob

    The point is not about the rate of increase or the amount of tariffs. What we are talking about here is utilities, an essential item, not a luxury. Is it essential that the government levy a high tax, on top of GST on such a item? To encourage energy conservation? Have we ever consider alternative energies on this sunny island, or are our gencos just complacent of milking our people?

    We can compare our tariffs with the whole world, but what’s the point? Utilities are an essential national service, just like education and medicine. I see no difference between our state of affairs with that of a laissez-faire which seeks to minimize or eliminate aspects of government intervention. If these basic functions can be left to the forces of demand and supply, then why do we need a government?

    And as usual do not just rely on statistics, just ask the people around you. Or you might want to be a volunteer and visit some of our poorest citizens with their utilities cut off.

  • Yamamoto

    72) KopitiamApek

    If you tried to build a dam here, environmentalist will be coming after you…lol!

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    79) Yamamoto

    It is not feasable to have a dam in Singapore to generate power as we have no major river running down from a mountain. Our dams are built over river mouths to become reservoirs. So dam in again, we can’t have one.

    78) SpongeBoob

    Have we ever consider alternative energies on this sunny island? Wind energy is not feasable here as we do not have strong enough wind. Wind farms require large land, which is something we don’t again. Solar energy is far way off from being efficient enough to be viable. I believe we are into research in this fleld, tryiog to get efficient solar panels and if we are as successful as in NEWater, it will be some breakthorugh for us in sunny SG. I belive we will get there quite soon.

    77) Horlando Moon
    As of now, a nuclear power plant can be built with existing latest improved technology borrowed from other countries seems to be a good bet.

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    79) Yamamoto on October 4th, 2009 3.22 pm 72) KopitiamApek

    environmentalist are what some will call in Hokkien “chiat pah buay pow” meaning
    buying food with full stomach.

    these people are predominantly from the West. They are stopping others from doing what they have already done. They have got their dams, the have exploited their forests, polluted their rivers, and they go around the world stopping (trying) other from doing that. They should clean up their own backyard first. And sadly, we have got natives from these developing countriest “gong gong” following them in their hidden agenda just because they are angmos. In the pretext of saving the world, they are really saving their own ass from being overtaken by developing countries.

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    79) Yamamoto

    If environmentalist have their way in Singapore, we will have no reservoir, no land reclamation, no HDB towns. We will be like what we were when Raffles landed here (and claimed to have founded us who were here for donkey years before him) all jungle and we will be living in huts alonside with maonketys and tigers, all of which we cannot touch because of environmentalist.

  • SpongeBoob

    //We can compare our tariffs with the whole world, but what’s the point? Utilities are an essential national service, just like education and medicine. I see no difference between our state of affairs with that of a laissez-faire which seeks to minimize or eliminate aspects of government intervention. If these basic functions can be left to the forces of demand and supply, then why do we need a government?
    And as usual do not just rely on statistics, just ask the people around you. Or you might want to be a volunteer and visit some of our poorest citizens with their utilities cut off.//

    THIS IS THE POINT I WANT TO EMPHASIZE.

    If you want to talk about alternative energies. I can talk, coz I buy shares in these companies. But this is not the issue.

  • SpongeBoob

    And once again, GET YOURSELF TO THE GROUND AND FEEL THE PAIN. Be a volunteer, work for a VWO, or simply look at the utitlitiy bills of your neighbours. GET THE POINT RIGHT.

  • mice is nice

    SpongeBoob

    post #80 on October 4th, 2009 6.37 pm

    ////If these basic functions can be left to the forces of demand and supply, then why do we need a government?////

    i agree, let’s get back to the main topic.

  • sad singaporean

    sad to tell, singaporean are idiot, they know nothing about politic before they give their vote….

  • Wong Swee Kai

    If we keep comparing with countries, what else is likely to increase?

  • Yamamoto

    85) Wong Swee Kai

    My fav will increase…public transport…since oil prices has increase…

    but that’s we can make Mr Lim eat his words.

  • Ryvyan

    What is the average acceptable percentage of electricity/water bills versus household income?

    Personally I’m going to ‘vomit blood’ from the recent rise. Previous month it was $180, this month it hit more than $200 because of the increment!

  • colortv

    It’s not the fault of gencos and SP for the increase in electricity prices. It is their job after all to maximise profits. In a fully competitive market, their profits are managed by free market competition. In the current utilities market in Singapore, this job is undertaken by the regulator, EMA.

    Hence the huge profits of gencos and SP are basically bestowed by EMA. Their failure to manage utility prices on the consumers’ behalf is the sole reason for our current predicament, whereby each family forks out a hefty $100+ per month for a basic necessity which should be commoditised.

  • Karamjit Kaur Gombo

    #88,

    util companies and EMA, are they not gongmin related?

  • Yamada

    Dear Singaporean do you think this a reasonable spike in your utility bill?

    Don’t just wake up, is time to shake the dragon on the next election.

    The reason why ppl are worries in shaking the dragon partly becos of rules and worries trouble come after them which everyone here understand clearly. BUT……..

    THINK now you may be living in a comfortable zone and if you decided to wait till you cant even feed your family than it will be too late.

    IS YOUR DECISION !!! Just don’t complain when you get to that level in life!!!

  • Vote of Opposition

    Temasek sold the 3 major power plants to foreign companies with debts. Thus only logical the EMA allows these foreign companies to charge us at world class high prices!

    Not to mention that we are major oil refinery in Asia. But our power plant uses natural gases.

  • http://Totheforgottongeneration.. sturmtruppen

    Looks like we are paying debts of external parties and transfering funds/money outside of singapore to circulate in other countries…either .someone too friendly in temasek with these debt ridden companies….or too ignorant to see the facts or truth….or someone wacko idea to continue to shaft singapore and its citizens.

  • XX

    The electricity rates comparison is not so simple, but the rip-off mentality must be obvious.

    Take the case of iNTERNET BROADBAND connection.

    For many years, 10 mbps connection in HK was only S$31 whereas SingTel charged S$90 plus GST, which was more than 3 TIMES more than in HK.

    If people were to look at one of the past annual report (I think 2004) of the public listed bus company in HK , it mentioned that it had not raised fares since 1997 even though it had been improving its services & frequencies.

    How else do you think Temasek could have achieved 18% pa annual return in the past?

    By the way, the mobile phone rate in India is now only US 1 cent per minute – check latest news today. Compare that with what SingTel/Starhub charge.

  • To Apek

    “environmentalist are what some will call in Hokkien “chiat pah buay pow” meaning
    buying food with full stomach.

    these people are predominantly from the West. They are stopping others from doing what they have already done. They have got their dams, the have exploited their forests, polluted their rivers, and they go around the world stopping (trying) other from doing that. They should clean up their own backyard first. And sadly, we have got natives from these developing countriest “gong gong” following them in their hidden agenda just because they are angmos. In the pretext of saving the world, they are really saving their own ass from being overtaken by developing countries.”

    “chiat-le-ai-si-lan-pow” – which means you are full of nonsense.

    the environmentalists are a group of positive minded people willing to do their bit to save our already damaged earth / environment. yes, they are mostly from the West – as the west seems to be the change driving agent for most things – the rest (the east ?) are mostly followers (for good and for bad).

    environmentalists are a totally different group of people from those who may be engaging in activities (some deemed commercially positive) contributing to the deterioration & degradation of the environment and negative externalities (e.g pollution in the form of industrial exhaust and chemical discharge, unhealthy consumerism in fast changing products long before their useful life like computers, handphones, tv, etc which need to be dumped into poor third world countries for recycling, etc) – though they may come from the same place known as the West.

    at least, the west knows how to transfer their dirt (diversify their risk) to others in other parts of the world as they have the system to do so . How about the rest in the other parts of the world, do they have the system to protect their own people or they have the system to enable their own powerful group to screw their own lesser mortals – where the former may be living in nice big houses in clean “picturesque” surrounding far away from the place where their wealth may be derived from the commercial activities of an environmental harmful nature.

  • People Action Forum

    just like public transports, taxi fare, utility rate hikes soon after oil price surge.

    And when oil price came down, Govt or the stat boards would tell u that fuel is not a key cost factor !

    These stat boards and Coys pay their execs half a million a year, they dont even know how to get a good future contract and do hedging.

    PAP govt sold most but one Power Stations to foreigners is to wlak away from their responsibilities

    I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR THEM TILL THEY either change their party’s name to rich and power action party, or they regain their souls !

  • tiredsingaporean

    just like public transports, taxi fare, utility rate hikes soon after oil price surge.
    And when oil price came down, Govt or the stat boards would tell u that fuel is not a key cost factor !

    I thought this issue was being brought up by TOC in the recent past not too long ago and now they just go ahead and whack us consumers another 12.5%. TOC should start this issue again, if not, be prepared for another hike to follow, believe me, just watch and observe what’s coming up next. They do really need alot of $$$ to be used as freebies and carrots soon, election coming, old man may not last that long.

  • luke

    You guys didn’t know. Singapore Power (SP) bought some “Assets” in Australia and thereafter the value tanked? SP was under pressure as it was heavily debt financed. The company’s credit rating got cut, had to sell the SP building (near Somerset). But nevermind, can collect back losses from users. brilliant

  • more good years to come

    “But nevermind, can collect back losses from users. brilliant”

    ya lo, if true. another extension to such brilliant way in rent seeking. hip hip hooray, more good years to come ? such invaluable talent we have ……

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    99) luke

    When did SP sell SP Building?
    When did SP Ausnet value tanked?

  • http://www.KopitiamApek.com KopitiamApek

    EMA, IDA, SP etc and many gov agencies located in the city has been systematically moving out of the city as they do not need to be located in the city centre and there is an opportunity cost of occupying these premises.

    Over the past decades, IRAS, HDB, MHA, and many more gov dept have moved out of the city centre. It helps in traffic congestion too.

    DBS, even Citi group will be moving out to Changi eventually.
    IBM has already moved to Ubi sometime ago.

  • SpongeBoob

    By all MEANS,
    throw in more statistics;
    compare apple with orange;
    divert attention;

    To an END,
    negating the role of social security role of a government.

    We can duplicate the regime of MSM here, online. Or we just simply go back to the basics of ‘GOVERNMENT’.

  • Laf

    98) KopitiamApek on October 8th, 2009 1.04 pm

    99) luke

    When did SP sell SP Building?
    When did SP Ausnet value tanked?

    ———————

    SP Ausnet is listed on the SGX………….the info including share price can be found there.

    To luke 96):

    Singapore Power International got caught buying Aussie asset in 2007 costing billions which was intended to be unloaded to SP Ausnet, but then got stuck because of the financial meltdown. Of course the value has since dropped a lot.

  • I love my country

    Most of our electricity is powered by Natural Gas or Diesel, but we are using Fuel Oil Price volatility to derive our electricity tariffs.

    Different classes of fuel are subject to different supply and demand situations and prices tend to move differently.

    Why cant we use cost based approach (i.e. if its powered by natural gas pay natural gas price, powered by diesel pay diesel price)? instead of using a price formula that could be subject to manipulation, and always end up with the best outcome for the supplier. e.g. electricity tariffs up cos Fuel Oil Price up and when Fuel Oil price comes down, we can lower electricity tariffs cos diesel/ natural gas is more expensive now?

  • luke

    @KopitiamApek

    SP power sold its building a year ago? Cant remember exact date but this info is public. So was the rating downgrade.

    It was not SP Ausnet, it was other assets it bought together with babcock and brown. SP wanted to inject the assets into SP Ausnet post acquisition, but obviously the minorities of SP Ausnet said – fark off guys! The assets you paid were overvalued, dont dump it into SP Ausnet!!! Hence no equity deals done, they had to refinance the huge borrowings. Of course with the kind of cash generation that they have, plus the Temasek implied support, no problems. Banks will lend.

    It gives the impression that the Tender Loving Care companies (or rather Temaske Linked companies) are under tremendous pressure to expand through M&A and often times acquire assets at high valuation.

  • cat

    Most people forgot that electricity pricing in Singapore is done by subsidising industrial usage by overcharging home consumption.

    If this is already expensive on average, had we use an index for the household price tag for electricity usage, we will surely be number 1.

    Why is it that home consumption should subsidize industrial consumption?

  • massivelosses_sohow?

    our electricity prices almost amongst highest in the world, perhaps there is a correlation between ministers’ pay and electricity price?

  • Charles Lee

    Don’t fret…………….technology is on the way that will significantly reduce energy demand for Air Conditioners and cars and later, its application on oil Refineries. Tests procedures will be outlined with BCA and Vicom as to demonstrate the efficacy of these patented and proven technologies.
    NUS has been brought as a facility to do their own research on the technoogy as well.

  • bob

    why do we have to peg gas to fuel oil price? as a major buyer, the genco can more or less set its own terms and conditions. there is no need to use any formula or peg to anything. the genco can buy at a fixed, average, floating price, etc. or even have its own formula or can even buy at a discount to the market. it’s all a matter of negotiation between buyer and seller.

    to tell us that they have to buy at a formula pegged to fuel oil price is bullshit, either they don’t know how to draft a simple contract or it’s s big lie.

    basically the genco is like a trading company, it buys at a price at that point in time that it believes was the best price possible. it then sells to end users like us the consumers, based on the prevailing tariff. however during the interim period the market moves against it and it incurs a loss. but in the case of our gencos, no problem, just pass the loss on to the consumers and in the process even turn in a profit.

    they can never lose as we are the suckers who will bail them out everytime. why do we allow them to do this to us?

  • LKM

    we r owned….forever…
    until we can unite and do something abt it…

  • Ang Kong Kia

    People has to Pay Until Bankrupt previously!

    Now left with no choice – Sure Pay!

  • KM OLI Mohtan

    We should be grateful for the Electricity pricing has gone up.
    it gives us a chance to show people we can afford , that we are 1st world cost of living.

    lets be grateful and not lament.
    lets accept our fate.
    lets forget the bad things and remember the good things.

    together , we can come together.

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