Households-Could-Pay-Less

Households Could Pay Less for Power as Electricity Market Opens Up to Competition

Electricity Market News

The Edge Singapore
Issue 787 2017
State of the City
Published 10 July 2016

EMA says the realiability and quality of electricity supply to consumers will remain the ”same” regardless of which retailer they choose to buy electricity from. Most retailers who spoke to The Edge Singapore expect to compete effectively on price.

Andrew Koscharsky, general manager for wholesale and trading at electricity retailer iSwitch, says his company will be able to offer an electricity package that is cheaper because it is tailored to the usage activity of average households.  Read more.

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iSwitch Received Recognition at SGX Electricity Futures 2nd Anniversary Celebration

iSwitch Received Recognition at SGX Electricity Futures 2nd Anniversary Celebration

On 21st June, iSwitch attended the SGX Electricity Futures 2nd Anniversary Drinks event in celebration of one more year of successful electricity futures trading. The event was well graced by the presence of prestige guests from the industry – other electricity retailers, traders, power generators and banks. Besides invited as an attending guest, iSwitch is extremely honoured to be there to receive the award of ‘‘Top 3 Volume Contributor’’ for the Electricity Markets which was presented by Ms Janice Kan, Senior Vice President at SGX.

The Electricity Futures Market, is the first in Asia and was launched by the Energy Market Authority (EMA), in partnership with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the electricity industry in April 2015. It is part of ongoing efforts to enhance market competition for the benefit of consumers. Based on the experiences of countries like Australia and New Zealand, an Electricity Futures Market leads to a more efficient and competitive wholesale and retail market with long-term benefits for consumers – providing competitive pricing, more retailers and greater price transparency.

“RCMA Energy & iSwitch congratulates SGX on a very successful 2 year anniversary of the electricity futures contract. The function was a great way to get Market Participants together so we can share views and build relationships.”
Andrew Koscharsky, General Manger (Wholesale & Trading)

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climate-change

Climate Change Policies – Yes or No?

Carbon exchanges, taxes and tariff subsidies have been used all over the world to incentivise investment in renewables and other greenhouse gas abatement projects. Yet, pricing in the cost of greenhouse gas emissions has led to regulatory uncertainty in developing and developed countries alike, as the politics overtake the policy imperatives.

On Wednesday 14th June, Women In Energy, Asia (WIEA) organised an event which brought together a panel of industry representatives and experts to lead a discussion on policy frameworks and how the difficulties facing investors and governments may be managed and overcome. The event: Climate change policies – Are they conducive to investment? The challenges for investors and governments, was proudly sponsored by leading international law firm, Simmons & Simmons.

WIEA started in 2014 and officially registered in early 2015 with the goal to provide female professionals of the energy sector an avenue to develop their industry network and nurture their careers through training, mentoring, role-modelling and professional development. They organise events on a regular basis throughout the year which provides the opportunity to hear a variety of innovative speakers, industry experts and panel discussions on a diverse range of energy related topics. This time, its event was attended by approximately 60 people, including iSwitch General Manager (Wholesale & Trading), Andrew Koscharsky.

Andrew Koscharsky, was honored to be invited as a speaker to discuss on international topics such as the chequered history of the Australian carbon schemes and its legislative goal posts, the government policy framework involved when making renewable asset investments. He also spoke on topics in Singapore, such as how the upcoming Singapore’s Carbon Tax will affect consumers, the possibility of companies using overseas credits to offset local carbon liabilities, and also on how Solar stacks up in Singapore against other Southeast Asian Markets.

‘‘The event discussed on great real life examples in other countries which provides insights on how to implement the Singapore’s Carbon Tax come 2019. The topics were very relevant for Singapore companies like iSwitch, electricity investors, and more so for the consumers because we discussed what to expect of the Carbon Tax structure – it is expected to uplift electricity and open up new aspects of the electricity markets that we have not experienced before, such as carbon trading and putting a higher focus on energy efficiency.’’Andrew Koscharsky, General Manager (Wholesale & Trading)

Other guest speakers at the event include:
Emily Spears, Environmental Products Originator, BP
Gilles Beau, CDO & Senior Wind Engineer, Blue Circle
Amanda Lees, Arbitration Lawyer and Of Counsel, Simmons & Simmons JWS
Cherine Fok, Senior Manager Sustainability Advisory and Assurance, KPMG

iSwitch-documentary

iSwitch Featured in French Corporate Film Documentary

Born Global Concept is the first French producer of corporate films based in the modern metropolitan city, Paris. It is the only entity which assembles the ability of a strategy consulting firm, a communication agency and an influencer. Born Global Concept works with big companies in the field of energy on a regular basis, with the aim to raise awareness and interests for the public by works.

iSwitch is honoured to have partaken in its latest prestigious documentary alongside significant organizations such as The Energy Market Authority (EMA) and Singapore Power. The documentary, which will be broadcasted at film festivals, energy conferences and schools  is expected to obtain a viewership of over 3 million people in France, Europe and internationally. It looks to showcase Singapore as the ‘‘ window to the future’’ in the fields of energy and high technology. The film takes a deeper look into the city’s innovative energy policies, energy management and renewable energy. Our General Manager (Wholesale and Trading) Andrew Koscharsky was eager to discuss these topics and share his viewpoint from the perspective of being one of the most dynamic electricity retailer in Singapore.
‘‘Singapore is progressing more towards renewable energy, a notable achievement that is acclaimed globally, especially given the land constraints that it faces. Creating a reliable and transparent market framework has garnered trust and confidence in consumers which has attract businesses like iSwitch to invest and thrive in Singapore,’’ he said.

‘‘Being a diverse electricity retailer in Singapore, iSwitch plays a pivotal role in shaping the electricity industry. I believe that such corporate documentaries provide an avenue for sharing people’s knowledge and experiences, creating a platform where everyone can upgrade and learn. Singapore has acquired much knowledge from other countries, despite being a strong energy leader itself.’’ –Andrew Koscharsky, iSwitch General Manager (Wholesale and Trading)

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New Electricity Retailer – iSwitch Helps to Lower Your Business Costs

Electricity Market News
Singapore Manufacturing Federation
Connect Magazine
Issue 3 2016
Industry Focus
Published Oct 2016

Electricity consumption is inevitable when operating a business; it is definitely an area that any management would be looking into towards cost reduction. And that is iSwitch’s goal: to help businesses reduce on their energy costs.

Stacy Gan, Sales Manager at iSwitch said, “While a company can adopt energy-saving methods to reduce energy consumption, there are also alternative and more competitive pricing options available in the market to reduce cost more effectively. We are proud to be working with SMF to offer low cost electricity plans.” Read more

Balancing-Risk-Management

Balancing Risk Management with Technology in Singapore’s Energy Market

Energy and Technology
APAC CIO Outlook
CXO Insights
Published 15 Sep 2016

By Andrew Koscharsky, General Manager, Wholesale and Trading, iSwitch and Director, Energy, RCMA Group

Balancing Risk Management with Technology in Singapore’s Energy Market

Singapore’s electricity market liberalisation efforts are paying off, with contestable customers now being able to choose their power supply from twice the amount of retailers as before. This increase in competition not only translates to significant cost savings, but also promotes technological advances that empower customers to measure and manage their own consumption behaviour. Retailers are now forced to compete on a broader platform than just price. This fresh capital injection provides a wider platform, encompassing energy efficiency, real time data monitoring, carbon management and new energy products.

About 70 Percent of Singapore’s load is contestable, with the remaining 30 Percent (mainly residential) opening up to contestability sometime in 2018.

Risk Management

The obvious challenge for retailers is penetrating the Sales and Marketing battleground, but an often forgotten risk is the volatile wholesale spot market. The risk management and hedging functions associated with managing unpredictable customer consumption can be quite costly, especially when spot prices are high. The Singapore electricity wholesale market is one of the most volatile commodity markets in the world, with the spot market seeing price excursions capped at +/- SGD $4,500/MWh, settled every 30 minutes. A typical recent day would see price sit at only about SGD$65. As a result, being left long or short due to inaccurate customer forecasts can be unforgiving.

Such volatility is partly due tothe day to day fundamentals of electricity trading such as transmission, supply outages and unpredictable weather, but also due to the oil price linkage. Singapore’s electricity prices are directly linked to the volatile global oil price because Singapore imports all of its fuel from other countries, all tied to oil linked pricing. This means that retailers and generators are well advised to embrace technology to manage their wholesale market risks.

The Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX), in collaboration with the Energy Market Authority (EMA) has listed 9 tradable quarterly electricity futures contracts. This allows retailers to deal in such financial products to hedge against the above mentioned market risks up to 2 years forward. This new SGX risk management tool allows retailers to buy futures contracts to help manage their wholesale risk as they sell to end use consumers. Conversely, it allows generators to sell futures contracts to manage their margins and revenue streams by locking in a fixed price. However, retailers are still faced with the question of how much electricity to buy to cover the expected retail customer consumption. This is where advanced technology steps in…

Singapore Loves Technology

If there is one country that embraces, develops and promotes technology, it is Singapore. As the electricity market continues to liberalise and consumers look to personally manage their own energy costs, the growing ability to do this interactively and through technological metering advances provides a real opportunity for IT service providers and developers.

Imagine being able to use an app where you can do the following:

  • Buy an electricity retail product from iSwitch which is a mix of fixed price and spot market exposure. Some portion should be fixed to avoid full spot mark exposure. Spot market exposure allows you to take advantage of periods of low spot prices when they occur.
  • Automatically charge your car or home battery only when wholesale spot prices are low.
  • If spot prices are high then advanced software will trigger your battery to automatically discharge back into the grid, allowing an arbitrage and revenue earning opportunity.
  • Turn off non-essential home appliances such as a clothes dryer, pool pump or aircon if spot prices are high with the push of a button on your phone. Alternatively, this can also be automated.
  • Tell the app that you will be away for the next 5 days so there is no need to run the hot water heater or any other stand by appliances such as the TV.

The above list is only limited by imagination and Singapore can look forward to a host of new IT capital investment to help businesses and homes to save money and also reduce their carbon footprint through more efficient energy usage. While such advances are being worked on in other countries, Singapore is well placed to embrace them faster and more efficiently due to market transparency and geography.

Alex Dechnicz, Corporate Portfolio Manager at Ausgrid in Australia agrees.

“Metering technology has dramatically progressed over recent years, providing retailers, commercial customers and now, residential customers with the ability to measure monitor and manage electricity usage to suit their respective needs.
Customers have been the key driver for these advancements, seeking solutions to not only obtain the data remotely in 15/30 minute intervals, but then use this data for varied decision-making. E.g. billing, environmental reporting, cost reduction analysis, bi-directional reporting, remote reconnect/disconnect, embedded networks etc.
The electricity market is heavily reliant on accurate & timely data. Immediate, multifunctional access to this data empowers all users with the ability to make educated decisions and benefit accordingly.”

Advanced data technology also allows the retailer to gain real time consumption data, with better granularity. This allows iSwitch to understand customer consumption behaviour more accurately and reduce procurement costs by not over or under hedging against spot market exposure.

Who would have thought that electricity retailing could be so interesting!

Singapore's-Power-Sector-Liberalised-Market

Is Singapore’s Power Sector Finally Ripe For A Liberalised Market?

Market Development News
Asian Power Magazine
In Focus
by Karen Mesina, Singapore
Published 02 Sep 2016

Is Singapore’s Power Sector Finally Ripe For A Liberalised Market?

It’s been over a decade since the country started progressively opening the market.

When electricity retailer iSwitch received queries from corporate clients asking if they could sign up with the firm for their individual homes, managing director David Maher knew that it is a concrete sign that Singapore is ready for energy liberalisation.

“For more than 10 years, Singapore has been in the process of progressively liberalising the electricity market in tranches. The Energy Market Authority’s (EMA) encouragement and the introduction of new retailers such as iSwitch helped create a fresh layer of competition, technology, and innovation. There is no doubt that the consumer market is ready,” he says, “but the framework required is significant and must be designed carefully to ensure that all participants are ready.”

EMA says that since 2001, it has progressively opened the retail electricity market to competition to give consumers more options to manage their energy costs. “Currently, a commercial or industrial (C&I) consumer with an average monthly electricity consumption of at least 2,000 kWh (the monthly electricity bill is about $400) is eligible to become contestable. The contestability threshold was lowered to 2,000 kWh from 4,000 kWh on 1 July 2015. In total, about 89,500 accounts (or 33,000 C&I consumers) are eligible to be contestable,” it adds.

How close is Singapore to achieving this?

Maher believes that Singapore is very close to achieving full openness of competition. Since the liberalisation of Singapore’s electricity market in 2001, there has been a notable growth trend of new electricity retailers participating to offer electricity packages to contestable customers.

“EMA and SP Services are working particularly hard, through a series of regular consultations and information sessions, to ensure that the industry will be ready. iSwitch has seen that the EMA, retailers, software providers, and associated industries are working in close collaboration in order for the market to be ready for Full Retail Contestability (FRC) in 2018,” he adds.

In support of driving price competitiveness, Maher says that the introduction of an SGX-listed electricity futures contract is also a major catalyst in bringing about an overall pricing transparency of the market. In addition, the industry has evolved significantly in terms of technology. Consumers will be able to take advantage of new technology to monitor and change their own consumption behaviour at home. “The entire ecosystem is gearing up towards full liberalisation and we are moving in the right direction,” he says.

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Paying Too Much for Businesses Electricity Bills?

Electricity Market Updates
Singapore Business Review
July 2016 issue
Published 17 June 2016

This question led the RCMA Group to launch iSwitch and provide more affordable electricity plans in combination with more flexible payment options to businesses.

When the RCMA Group saw Singapore businesses jumping through hoops to cut down a small fraction of their ballooning electricity bills, their immediate thought was: There has to be an easier way that brings better results. This led the firm to launch iSwitch, an electricity retail business that is licensed by the Energy Market Authority (“EMA”) to offer electricity plans at more attractive prices and more flexible payment options.

“While a company can adopt energy-saving methods to reduce consumption, there are alternative and more competitive pricing options available in the market to reduce cost more effectively,” says David Maher, Managing Director, iSwitch & Managing Director, Energy at the RCMA Group.

Substantial savings, flexible payment

Leveraging on its experienced team in energy and electricity retail across the region, the RCMA Group sets up iSwitch with a dedicated team that helps businesses review their electricity bills.

The consultation process assists businesses to explore various pricing plans and then choose one that will best suit their needs, often resulting in substantial savings on their electricity costs and a noticeable improvement to their operational overheads.

iSwitch has spent significant resources building a solid reputation of not only having more attractive plans relative to incumbent players in Singapore, but also providing flexible and customised solutions to consumers who wish to save more on their electricity costs.

“We not only help customers to improve their bottom-line, but understand and add value to their cash flow management by offering flexible payment terms,” says Maher.

iSwitch’s experienced advisors focus on finding a plan for customers that fits like a glove. “Customer service is our top priority; we train our staff to go the extra mile with the personal touch, and to value and treat our customers as business partners,” says Maher.

Reliability assured

There is a common misconception that since iSwitch is an electricity retailer with no generating assets, its reliability is lower. But iSwitch points out that this is not the case as physical electricity supply is not determined by assets but managed independently by the SP Power Grid.

“When these customers express concerns about the reliability and quality of supply, education becomes critical when reaching out to customers as we help them understand that Singapore’s energy transmission system is highly regulated and wholly operated by the Government. This means that when you switch electricity retailers, there will be no change or compromise to your security of supply,” says Maher.

Businesses are assured that there will be minimal hassle when shifting to iSwitch since the account transfer will be handled by the iSwitch team, in the same system that is managed by SP Services.

“Customers often think that it is difficult to switch from their existing retailer or hesitate to switch from SP Services. At iSwitch, our dedicated team of experts makes the process a simple and hassle-free experience.”

Gearing up for change

iSwitch is gearing up for a big shift in the Singapore electricity retail market in 2018 when the next stage of contestability occurs, expanding the number of potential customers that can take advantage of its lower rates and more flexible plans to include household owners and small businesses.

“Not only commercial and industrial consumers, and large or medium businesses, but also household owners and small businesses will be empowered to sign up electricity plans with any retailer like iSwitch to enjoy greater savings and benefits,” says Maher.

“iSwitch has been gearing towards building the team’s expertise in preparation for the influx of potential customers as we strive to always be at the forefront in helping these newly contestable consumers enjoy some of the greatest savings,” he adds.

iSwitch is backed by the RCMA Group, a global group headquartered in Singapore with offices in 15 countries.

Singapore businesses can email their latest monthly electricity bill to sales@iswitch.com.sg and a dedicated team of iSwitch experts will advise on the best offering that helps maximise electricity cost savings.