Liberalization of the energy market in Singapore

"Electricity market to be fully liberalised in 2018", Straits Times (Oct 27, 2015),

Here are some thoughts on the matter: The liberalization of the energy production and market has been ongoing for less than a decade and the process is set to continue further, and will be fully liberalized in 2018. From my reading of information on the web (, right now the companies generating power are all privately owned by foreign companies in China, Indonesia/France, Malaysia (?). So far the process of liberalization have not seen much glitches, and large power consumers have had a choice to go directly to the power sources, other than through Singapore Power.

My concern is that a total liberalization in the sense of total dependence on foreign companies to *generate electricity* is not good if there is no back up power generation plan during emergency times when disaster/danger or merely market instability would strike and the Singapore market becomes unviable for profit. Without our own electricity producing capability, our electronic systems cannot work and neither our defence capability, nor all essential functions.

Sectors that are deemed essential for survival of Singapore in times of emergency should have power backup sources. So it won't be good to privatize all power generation assets. Singapore Power needs to continue to run and function in terms of power generation, preferably for important industries that form the core of the survival plan in terms of emergencies (including wars, social instability when foreign power provides remove themselves).

So ideally, SP should retain a core of manpower and assets and continue to provide and sell electricity even now and into the future, to maintain a basic core to provide power, for (or that can be channeled to) industries crucial to Singapore's survival. To relinguish its power generation capability and network totally would not be wise.

Furthermore, we may not enjoy the economies of scale for privatization as the Singapore power demands is not as large as in other countries.  In a Straits times excerpt:

(I quote) Dr Shi Xunpeng, deputy head of energy economics at the National University of Singapore's Energy Studies Institute, said: "This free choice and competition among retailers will give consumers more customised electricity supply, better services and probably lower prices." He pointed out that with full liberalisation in Texas in the United States, the average electricity tariff with retail competition is 5.5 per cent lower than the national average. But Dr Shi noted that it is not yet possible to quantify the benefits for Singapore customers. ...

Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, executive director of Nanyang Technological University's Energy Research Institute, said data from places such as Europe or the US shows that households could enjoy savings of between 5 and 15 per cent due to competitive pricing by multiple utility providers.

But he added that additional savings may be possible if there is a shift in consumer behaviour, by running heavy-duty appliances like clothes dryers or ovens at night to benefit from lower, off-peak electricity prices, for example. (end quote)

The industry experts interviewed had cited examples of little gains in other cities that are larger than Singapore, but is Singapore's power consumption to these cities? The response indicates uncertainty in significant benefits for the Singapore market.

There are still things to consider before a full liberalization should happen, whether it should or should not, and where should be the limit to that.

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