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Monday, November 19, 2007

Singapore Power Grid

Nov 19, 2007
S'pore has world's most reliable power grid: Survey
It is also tops in cheap network charges with consumers getting the best deal
By Tania Tan


SINGAPORE has chalked up a new superlative: Its power grid is the most reliable in the world.
Compared with 26 other cosmopolitan cities, Singapore logged the fewest electricity outages last year.

And each customer on the grid suffered just half a minute in outages stemming from network failure last year - less time than people in Tokyo and New York, which had three and 12 minutes in power outages respectively.

These figures come from an international survey commissioned by Singapore Power (SP) and carried out by international electricity consultancy Kema International early this year.

Singapore also emerged tops in cheap electricity network charges, with consumers here getting the most bang for their buck. Power is cheaper here than in cities such as Paris, San Diego and Seoul.

Kema International senior consultant Virendra Ajodhia said: 'International benchmarks show Singapore has one of the world's best performing electricity networks.'

A high-tech monitoring system which keeps a close watch on the pulse of the nation's electricity grid is key to an efficient power grid.

Made up of a complex network of cables buried underground, the system keeps tabs on the condition of the cables.

An SP spokesman explained: 'Wear and tear are inevitable, so it is important to ensure we repair cables before any damage affects the system.'

The monitoring system works like the medical procedure in which a dye is injected into a person's blood vessels to locate blockages in his circulation system, she explained.

There have been no power outages related to network failure since 2004. That year, the outage was the result of an interruption in imported natural gas supplies to power stations here.

The 1.2 million households and businesses here also paid less than people in Paris, San Diego and Seoul in electricity network charges, the fees payable by consumers to be on the grid.

These charges make up between 20 and 30 per cent of one's electricity bill.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) said that promoting competition in the electricity market has helped bring power costs down.

They could come down more in future, if a pilot project by the EMA is successful.

Launched last month, the Electricity Vending System will allow more than 1,000 households to choose the electricity plan which best suits their usage needs, just as one would pick a cellphone price plan.

The pilot project, slated for completion in mid-2009, will open up the market to five new electricity retailers, including Senoko Energy and Keppel Electricity.

However, the power network will still be managed by SP PowerGrid.

taniat@sph.com.sg

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