In Singapore, SP Services is the only electricity, water and mains gas supplier for residential customers. They are the commercial arm of electricity provider Singapore Power and the billing agent for the Public Utilities Board and City Gas, the suppliers of water and gas respectively. Supply is excellent and shortages are almost unheard of.
The connection process is quite simple and water, electricity and gas can all be done with one application. Full details on how to apply are on the SP Services website (www.spservices.sg). The main centre is at 111 Somerset Road, Singapore Power Building and is open Mondays to Fridays from 8 am to 6 pm, and Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm. The other two centres are in Toa Payoh and Woodlands and have slightly shorter hours.
When you apply by phone, online or in person you can arrange for the meter reader or technician to turn on your services within a day or two. There are no connection fees but you will have to pay a security deposit. The deposit amount is determined by your residence type and whether you are paying your bills by GIRO (direct deposit) or not. It ranges from S$300 for an apartment with GIRO payment to S$800 for a bungalow without GIRO payment. The size of a household’s utility bill varies greatly depending on how much you use the air conditioning and whether someone is home during the day or not.
Electricity is generated by fuel oil and natural gas generator plants so tariffs are pegged to the price of fuel oil. The power supply is 230 volts and 50 cycles and the most common socket type is the three-pin one with flat blades (same as in the UK). Round two-pin sockets are also used for lamps and small appliances and converters for these are available at most department stores or hardware shops. There have been significant changes to the electricity supply system in recent years, but they have yet to trickle down to the residential customer. Currently, only commercial customers with usage over 120kW/year are eligible to choose their electricity provider from the six or seven private suppliers in the market.
The water supply comes from two sources: pipelines from Malaysia’s Johor Province and from the local reservoir system which captures rain and groundwater. The water is moderately soft, fluoridated and the quality is well within the guidelines for drinking water set out by the World Health Organisation. Still many people choose to use bottled water and dispensers. You’ll need to put down a refundable deposit of S$200 for a dispenser and a package of four 20 litre bottles per month works out to S$12 per bottle. Many companies require that you use them for minimum of a year and will withhold some of the deposit if you return the dispenser before that year is up.
Most of Singapore is on the mains gas network, supplied by City Gas and administered by SP Services. The application for connecting your gas is included in your overall utilities application to SP Services. The only difference is that you need to arrange a separate appointment for someone to come and turn on your gas supply. There’s no connection fee.
Apartments in older buildings may not be connected to the mains gas network, in which case you’ll probably have to get a gas canister as in almost all cases cookers run on gas. The actual suppliers of these gas canisters and the refills are large companies like Shell, ESSO and SPC, but they use a network of hundreds of delivery agents to distribute their product. Deliveries are available at short notice, so if your gas runs out just before a big dinner party or BBQ, you may still have time to get a replacement. Gas canisters cost S$25-30 and you can get them in 12.7 kg or 14 kg bottles. If there’s an existing canister at your residence, it’s easiest to call the same company that supplied it, as that guarantees that the regulator will be compatible with your stove. Canisters usually have a sticker on them with the phone number of the supplier.
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