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Singapore

Temporary electricity contracts scheme extended until May amid rising global gas prices

 Temporary electricity contracts scheme extended until May amid rising global gas prices

HDB flats in Toa Payoh at night. (File photo: CNA/Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A scheme that offers one-month fixed price electricity plans to large consumers has been further extended through May, as global gas prices continue to rise to record levels amid unprecedented volatility in the electricity market.

In a media release on Monday (Feb 14), the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said it would extend its Temporary Electricity Contracting Support Scheme (TRECS) to March, April and May.

Under TRECS - which allows generation companies to draw on EMA’s standby fuel facility to generate electricity - those with an average monthly consumption of at least 4 megawatt hour (MWh), can subscribe for the fixed plans.

Currently, there are about 1 per cent of consumers – or some 11,000 accounts, most of which are business accounts – who buy directly from the Singapore wholesale electricity market, making them more exposed to volatile electricity prices.

The scheme was fully subscribed for January and EMA said it had worked with generation companies to offer additional retail plans with “significant fixed price components”, in response to requests for more contracts.

At least 200MW of the 645MW of TRECS and other monthly retail plans offered for February are still available, said EMA, adding that the contracting window for March will open on Tuesday.

“These plans provide a viable option for companies which want to reduce their exposure to volatile electricity prices but face difficulties securing electricity contracts,” the authority said.

EMA said those with an average monthly consumption of between 4 MWh and 8 MWh can continue to obtain fixed price contracts at “preferred rates” from Sembcorp Power.

Meanwhile, large consumers can approach  Keppel Electric, Tuas Power Supply, Sembcorp Power, Senoko Energy, Geneco (by Seraya Energy) and PacificLight Energy for contracts.

ELECTRICITY PRICE CORRECTION WAS “UNAVOIDABLE”

Currently, the vast majority of Singapore’s energy is imported, meaning it cannot be fully insulated from developments in the global energy market.

Speaking in parliament on Monday, Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said the increase in electricity prices was unavoidable, and that the current global energy crunch had only exacerbated the situation.

“(Singapore) has been enjoying artificially low electricity prices for several years, due to an over-investment in capacity fuel by the generation companies,” said Dr Tan in Parliament on Monday.

“I've also alluded to the fact that that was below the cost of generating electricity, and thus it was not sustainable,” he said.

Surging prices in the wholesale market saw six electricity retailers exit the Singapore market between October and December last year. Another two had prematurely terminated some of their customers’ contracts. This affected about 9 per cent of total electricity consumer accounts.

Responding to questions from Members of Parliament (MP) Jessica Tan (PAP-East Coast) and Sylvia Lim (WP-Aljunied) on support measures for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), Dr Tan said affected households and businesses with an average monthly consumption of less than 4 MWh who do not qualify for TRECS can switch to SP Group’s regulated tariff “at any time”.

Source: CNA/vl
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