July Newsletter 2018: Oil Market Review

Another month another newsletter. Where do I even begin? Stockpiles, World Cup, OPEC, Trump, China, Libya, England, Norway and the list goes on and on and on. Basically, a 2018 rendition of Billy Joel’s “We didn’t start the fire”.

Crude Oil Prices: Oil hit a month high of $79.44 in June before retreating to $73.05 on news of US, China trade war.

Let’s start with the metaphorical elephant in the soccer field. France Won! The World Cup! Where’s Croatia?! 2018 is full of surprises. Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Portugal were among the top contenders and despite having some of the most expensive players in the world, they crashed out in a spectacularly. Perhaps it’s the all-star syndrome or just the Russian weather. Who knows? All I can be sure of is that Neymar would definitely have a career in Hollywood should he decide to quit soccer. There was much anticipation for England to perform but alas, they only made it to the semi-finals.

And speaking of Brexit, news from across the pond is as hazy as a Beijing afternoon. The UK PM has come out and claimed that it’s going to be a soft Brexit but never defined what that really means. I think it’s just the default response of the UK government for now. David Davis, the guy in charge of the Brexit negotiations quit and our golden boy Boris left shortly after as well. Theresa May might be out whether she wants to or not. An exodus of these figures would spell an interesting time for the Brexit talks.

Now where would we be without Trump? Probably in a more peaceful world but cé la vi. For as long as I could remember, Trump has been trumpeting (yes, I just did) that oil prices were too high. He was fairly happy after last month’s OPEC meeting but a slew of factors rallied the markets again. No exemption from the Iran sanctions (which is technically US’s doing), Libya’s port got attacked cutting exports by 400k bpd, economy is roaring ahead, US stockpiles were going down and Norway’s oilmen went on strike demanding higher pay. Not even Saudi’s and Russia’s production spike of more than half million barrels per day could prevent Brent rising from a low of $72.47 to a high of $79.55.

To Trump’s credit, he did pressure OPEC to adjust their production forecast up by another million barrels a day and on an completely separate note, imposed tariffs on $234 billion worth of goods on China. Bringing us down to the current $74/75 Brent. Even a record draw on US stockpiles couldn’t reverse the bearish sentiments. Now, US officially said they were in principle fighting against unfair trade practices. But the conspiracy theorist in me thinks Trump did this knowing that he’ll achieve his goal of lower oil prices. Looking at the equity markets and commodities markets, it’s either a brilliant stroke of scorched earth warfare or a chronic exposure to FOX News. Knowing Trump, I really wouldn’t know.

Now, what really terrifies me is that China has yet to seriously respond. They said that they would not take well to aggression but has not penned down any concrete battle plans. That might’ve changed by the time this article is published but I am certainly not looking forward to the inevitable announcement.

All in all, oil is in for another rocky ride. Couple of things to take note of in the coming months:

  • China’s response to the addition 200 billion goods tariff from US
  • US’s position Iran sanction waivers
  • Libya’s oil conflicts are in resolution
  • US crude stockpile levels for the coming months

Oil market aside, let’s take a reflection of this year’s USEP spot price. May 2018 has shown the highest spot average in 3 years. June 2018 has been the third highest and July 2018 is fast becoming a strong contender. I can go on about the some of the highest spot months, but I would quickly run out of 2018.

OEM is starting soon and finally an end to my tormenting wait for a cheap power bill. The agony of watching Jurong residents have their pick at retailers while I am unable to anything about it. Come October (allegedly) I shall foray into the lush jungle that is the OEM to hunt for what we Singaporeans love best; Cheaper stuff.

Author: Zheng Tianbai, Analyst, iSwitch Energy Team

Disclaimer: iSwitch will not be liable for any loss or damage of any kind (whether direct, indirect or consequential losses or other economic loss of any kind) suffered due to any omission, error, inaccuracy, incompleteness, or otherwise, or any reliance on such information. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s personal views and must not be construed as representing the opinion of iSwitch as a company.

Cheaper Electricity From Rain?

This New Technology Could Change

How We Generate Energy.

We probably know by now the common types of renewable energy in the world today: solar power, hydropower and wind power. But what if there is another kind of renewable energy source that we can tap on? One that is right under our noses?

We are talking about the energy we can harvest from the rain! Power right!

Every day millions to billions of litres of water fall as rain all over the world, representing a tremendous amount of kinetic energy that can now be converted into energy.

The Marvellous Invention – From A 15-Year Old Girl

Reyhan Jamalova from Azerbaijan (central Asia) has successfully invented a smart device that allows energy to be directly harvested from falling rain to be converted into electricity. With just $20,000 and the help of her physics tutors, she developed Rainergy, a 9-metre high device that allows rainwater to flow through a generator at high speeds to generate electricity which is then stored in a battery for future use.

How effective is this new innovation?

Far from being just a novelty, with just 7 litres of rainwater, the device has the power to light up nearly 22 LED lamps all at once!

Is this technology eco-friendly?

While solar panels contribute around 50 g of carbon dioxide per kWh generated, Rainergy only emits 10 g of carbon dioxide per kWh, 5 times friendlier for the environment!

This Innovation Could Help Emerging Countries With Their Electricity Needs

If you are living in Singapore, you probably feel that energy is abundant and at the flip of a switch, you can instantly turn the lights on (and the aircon) whenever you wish. But in many other countries, things aren’t that simple.

Just recall what typically happens during a blackout – your laptops can’t work & you won’t have any internet access to handle any work online. Your refrigerator shuts down and you might be worried if your food will continue to stay fresh if this continues. While these examples might just minor inconveniences to us, solved immediately once the power is back on, having no electricity at home is a daily reality to many families all over the world.

From poor infrastructure that links poorer communities to a higher cost of electricity in certain countries, this technology has the ability to help nations like the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia where rainfall is abundant but access to electricity is restricted.

According to Rainergy’s website, the technology has the ability to generate roughly 3,626 kWH of electricity in a single year, enough power to light up a small family’s household. While this amount might seem small to households in Singapore, for some countries this could very well mean the difference between having better opportunities for a better life or not. In India, only 74% of rural areas have access to electricity compared to 97% in urban areas.

Considering health, education, access to jobs and income generation all is directly connected to having electricity, Rainergy could very well be the technology that helps lift many people from the developing world out of poverty!

But could this technology help Singapore’s energy needs?

Electricity Diversification For Singapore – Especially During The Monsoon Season

While Singapore might be one of the few countries boasting 100% access to electricity, this doesn’t mean that Rainergy isn’t useful for our island nation.

Singapore relies heavily on imported gas and oil for our electricity generation, 95% in fact, and this reliance makes the electricity price (and your electric bill) very vulnerable to the rise and fall of oil prices! While we do have more than 2,400 HDB blocks installed with solar panels and possess ambitious plans such as developing solar panels in the open sea, having an alternate renewable energy source will be better for both national security and consumer prices!

Unlike bigger countries like Denmark where wind energy can be freely harvested, or Iceland which is powered 100% by renewable geothermal energy, Singapore is land-scarce and every inch of our island nation has to be utilised effectively. While solar panels are great, during cloudy days, they won’t work as effectively as sunny days and generate no electricity at night.

Technology like Rainergy might be a perfect fit for Singapore to help in our electricity generation. Just think of the months of June & July this year, pretty rainy and wet isn’t it? With floods happening and rain storms that can last practically the entire day, having the ability to harvest rain energy into electricity would be perfect in our tropical climate – especially during this monsoon season!

What does that mean for you?

Potential savings and greater options for greener energy!

Shiok la!

Managing A Condominium or a Commercial Property?

Secure Electricity Savings On Your Common Area With DAS (Demand Aggregation Scheme).

One of the biggest operating cost of any MCST is the electricity needed to keep the common areas running for the tenants and residents. For condominiums the common area facilities such as clubhouses, swimming pools and corridor lighting, as well as the air-conditioning and elevators for malls & office buildings, require constant electricity to function, adding substantially to the management cost of running the property.

There Is More To Being Energy Efficient

As of 1st July 2018, The SP Tariff Price has just increased by 6.9%. While it is good to practice smart energy saving habits such as installing automatic light sensors to turn off the air-conditioning during non-peak hours, such measures cannot be compared to savings on your electricity bill.

By switching to an electricity retailer, you can significantly lower your energy bill and enjoy electricity savings – 24 hours a day, every single day!

The 2 Options You Should Know

Instead of paying your electricity bills to SP Services, you can switch to an electricity retailer who can offer cheaper electricity price plans.

There are two options available for MCST to switch out from SP Services: The En-Bloc Contestability Scheme (ECS) & the Demand Aggregation Scheme (DAS).

While the ECS scheme might seem more straightforward, it is considerably more difficult, and the process takes a lot longer as you will need to obtain 100% consensus from all your tenants and unit owners to purchase electricity on their behalf.

Furthermore, ECS is only available for commercial properties such as office buildings and shopping malls while DAS is available for both residential and commercial properties.

Is Demand Aggregation Scheme (DAS) For You?

DAS is suitable for property managers, who are unable to attain 100% consent from all tenants and unit owners to buy electricity from a single retailer. DAS is a perfect solution, that allows you to save on your common area electricity bill without affecting your tenant and unit owners’ freedom to choose their own preferred retailer.

DAS is the faster and smarter route to achieve savings on your common area electricity bill.

Switch & Save With iSwitch

You can immediately begin the process of switching by appointing iSwitch as your retailer. iSwitch will assist you throughout the entire DAS process.

DAS is the essential step you must take to begin saving on your electric bill.

Who Is iSwitch?

As a premier retailer of electricity in Singapore since 2015, iSwitch draws from an award-winning heritage of success dating back to 1964. We are one of Singapore’s most stable retailers with prudent risk management to ensure only the best electricity products and plans are offered to our customers.

With a track record of providing stable electricity supply at competitive prices to commercial properties and condominiums all over Singapore, we are specialists in helping your development enjoy consistent electricity savings.

I am DAS ready!

If you are interested to save on your common area bill and is unsure of how to proceed.

Have no worry, iSwitch is here!

Drop us a call at 1800 505 9900 or email us at DAS@iswitch.com.sg and we will be more than happy to guide you through the entire process from scratch!

SGX Awards Night

RCMA Bags The Top 3 Volume Contributor Award

iSwitch’s Parent Company, RCMA, Bags The Top 3 Volume Contributor Award for 2017/2018 At SGX Electricity And Petrochemical Awards Night!

SGX Awards Night

Held on the 26th of June 2018, the annual SGX Electricity and Petrochemical Awards saw iSwitch’s parent company, RCMA Asia win the ‘Top 3 Volume Contributor Award’ for 3 years in a row since 2015.

As one of the top volume contributors in the swaps market, iSwitch & RCMA play a key role in contributing to Singapore’s electricity markets not just in the paper derivative markets but also in the physical supply of electricity to customers as one of Singapore’s licenced electricity retailer.

An Innovative Electricity Retailer With A Rich Heritage

iSwitch’s entry to the Singapore electricity market began in 2015 when its parent company, RCMA Group began trading and facilitating over-the-counter (OTC) electricity products in the Singapore market before receiving its Electricity Retail Licence from the Energy Marketing Authority (EMA) in Singapore.

iSwitch draws from a rich heritage that traces its origins back in 1964 when Singapore Tong Teik was established that eventually evolved into the RCMA group today. With a diversified portfolio of commodities ranging from energy to agriculture, the RCMA group is a global commodity trading house today with an annual turnover in excess of US$1 billion and employs more than 250 people. As a wholly owned subsidiary of the RCMA Group, iSwitch benefits from a strong capital base, commercial experience, retail knowledge and risk management expertise.

With the recent launch of Singapore’s Open Electricity Market in April, iSwitch has been serving residents in Jurong for their electricity needs in addition to their existing portfolio of commercial businesses that purchase electricity from iSwitch for their daily operations.

From highly popular fixed rate plans to discount over tariff (DOT) plans, iSwitch provides a range of innovative electricity products for customers both retail and commercial to suit their unique needs that can vary from household to household and the different business models operating in the market today.

A Commitment In Going Green

iSwitch holds a strong belief in renewable energy and playing a part in transforming Singapore into a green nation and is proud to offer their 100% Green Energy product, iSwitch2Green. Using United Nations verified carbon credits to offset the carbon pollution consumed by customers, iSwitch has helped various corporations and companies such as Dulwich College become 100% carbon neutral and assisted Vagabond Hotel to become Singapore’s first hotel to buy 100% clean energy.

The Road Ahead

As the electricity market in Singapore starts to mature with more contestable retail customers available as we move into 2019, customers will be expecting more from their electricity retailers in terms of better products that are centred around their lifestyles and households and not the other way around.

Joshua Nathan, iSwitch’s Head of Marketing notes that “We foresee that customers will have more choices when it comes to selecting the right electricity plan for their businesses. With the help of technology, they will also be able to manage this consumption on a real-time basis and we believe that the industry is gearing up towards that.”