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     Utilities

     Singapore Power: Fuel-price rise behind hike in power tariffs

     Sarah Koh, Asst Vice-President, Singapore Power, wrote to The Straits Times on 18 Aug 2000 to explain the hike in power tariffs. Here is an excerpt of her letter.

 

  "Singapore imports all of the fuel oil required for power generation. As fuel costs make up half of the cost of producing electricity, our tariffs are influenced by fuel-oil prices which are set by the world market.

  "Our tariffs are reviewed quarterly and reset, if necessary, to reflect changes in fuel-oil prices. Since February last year, fuel-oil prices have more than doubled - from US$9 (S$15.50) per barrel to US$23 last month.

  "The price hike has led inevitably to higher costs for power generation. To mitigate the fluctuations and the impact of tariff increases on consumers, Power Supply has, whenever possible, delayed recovering costs or recovered the cost over a longer period of time.

  "That is why the electricity tariff was maintained until last December although fuel prices started to rise much earlier, in February. Power Supply increased tariffs only in January this year by an average of 1.91 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), or 16%, and by another 4.3 cents per kWh, or 3% in May, after fuel-oil prices rose by more than 130%.

  "Continued escalation of fuel-oil prices in recent months, together with substantial under-recovery of cost by Power Supply, has made the current round of tariff adjustments necessary.

  "To minimise its impact on our customers, Power Supply is adjusting the tariff increase over several months. For residential and small non-domestic customers, the adjustment is spread over eight months. For big non-domestic customers, the adjustment is spread over five months.

  "Contrary to what has been stated, the tariff was adjusted downwards when the fuel-oil price fell to US$10 per barrel. In May 1998, Power Supply reduced tariffs by 14% when fuel-oil prices fell in the preceding months.

  "Power Supply is required by the PUB to pass on any savings in fuel-oil price reduction to consumers. In addition, Singapore Power implemented a series of rebates in July 1998 to help the companies and our consumers tide over the economic crisis.

  "The rebates were raised in steps from 0.3 cents per kWh in July 1998 to 1.3 cents per kWh in January this year. As of the end of March this year, Singapore Power has given back a total of S$355 million to our customers in rebates."  

 

 

 

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