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

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.

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