In Focus
UTILITIES | Danielle Isaac, Singapore
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YTL PowerSeraya launches retail arm Geneco amidst opening of Singapore's electricity market

Its 24-month fixed rate price plans will go head-to-head against 12 other retailers.

Yeoh Keong Hann, the executive director of Singapore’s 47-year-old power generator YTL PowerSeraya, is leading one of the retail initiatives looking to bank on Singapore’s liberalised electricity market, which was commenced its phased launch on 1 November. Yeoh talks about the launch and planned expansion of YTL PowerSeraya’s retail arm Geneco, how it will compete against 12 other retailers, and his outlook on Singapore’s electricity market.

Can you tell us why and how YTL PowerSeraya decided to set up Geneco, and in Singapore first?
Geneco’s parent company, YTL PowerSeraya, is the second largest power generator in Singapore with 47 years of power generation expertise and 17 years of business-to-business energy retail experience. Since the liberalisation of Singapore’s energy market was announced in 2001, PowerSeraya has been actively investing in new plant technology to enhance plant capacity and ready itself for increased demands for electricity and steam generation. YTL PowerSeraya’s Combined Cycle Power plant (CCPP) was completed in 2002 and boosted with a licensed generating capacity of 3,100MW, and was Singapore’s first and largest electricity generator. 2010 saw the official opening of YTL PowerSeraya’s 800MW natural gas-fired Co-Generation Combined Cycle Plant. The completion of the plant further sealed our position as a leading integrated energy company in Singapore that provides efficient and reliable multi-utility services.

Hence, with YTL PowerSeraya’s established position in the energy market, multi-utility business and strong power generating capacities, launching Geneco in Singapore was a logical choice. We launched Geneco in April 2018 in response to the liberalisation of the Singapore electricity market. In October of the same year, YTL PowerSeraya consolidated both its business and consumer retail portfolios (previously Seraya Energy) under the Geneco brand.

What types of opportunities are there now that Singapore has opened up its retail electricity market? What is your outlook on these opportunities?
Geneco welcomes the prospect of a healthy and competitive market. We’re looking forward to the opportunities this will bring to households and businesses. The liberalisation gives companies like us a new opportunity to reach out to new segments of customers and with a better understanding of their profiles, we are able to customise and innovate energy solutions. This can also help us manage our overall portfolio as well.

We also anticipate increased shifts towards sustainable energy options for Singapore, in line with the national agenda of cutting carbon emissions and consuming energy in an environmentally-responsible manner. The need for companies to place corporate social responsibility at the heart of their culture will become even more essential. Sustainability will become the core goal for many businesses, vital to attract and retain stakeholders at every level of a business, with energy use and efficiency at the heart of it.

How will Geneco distinguish itself from other retail players in the Singapore market?
Currently, Geneco has one of the most competitive 24-month fixed rate price plans compared to other energy retailers. We’re able to provide the most cost-effective plan because we have a fully digital customer journey that strips away unnecessary overhead costs so we can bring them the best plans at the best prices. Our plans do not have hidden charges and we do not require a security deposit payment as we seek to be as transparent as possible in our pricing.

We also believe in making the switch as easy and hassle-free as possible for our customers. Consumers only need to fill up a short form on our website – registered property owner’s full name, NRIC, address, and mobile number – and we’ll contact Singapore Power to make the switch. Consumers can be assured that the process will not affect their electricity supply.

In addition to competitive price plans, Geneco is committed to building a sustainable energy future for Singapore. We are currently developing energy saving solutions for our customers, as well as championing the use of smart meters. We want consumers to better understand their energy patterns and choose the best plan for their lifestyle needs.

Since the open electricity market is not yet fully launched, what are the kinds of challenges the company prepares for and how are you planning to address them?
Geneco was one of the 14 retailers in the pilot launch of the OEM in Jurong, which happened this year earlier in April. From that, we’ve learnt that education and awareness are key for consumers to understand the benefits that the liberalisation of the retail electricity market brings – price-competitive plans and more options. This includes clarifying questions about switching retailers, such as whether it affects the reliability of electricity supply, and simplifying consumer choices.

In conversations with our customers, we’ve found out that apart from competitive prices, consumers look at the credibility of the retailer when making a decision. Some are worried that new entrants in the market may not be around for long, especially as competition heats. There are currently 12 electricity retailers who are participating in the nationwide roll-out of the open electricity market. Of the 12, 7 are power generation companies which generate power and feed it to the national grid – one of them is YTL PowerSeraya. Hence, with 47 years of experience and being backed by billions of dollars of assets, customers can rest assured that we’re not going anywhere.

When can we expect expansion into other countries? What locations are you eyeing?
Presently, Geneco is looking to expand into Malaysia, followed by the rest of Southeast Asia. With Malaysia looking to deregulate the electricity market in the next two to three years, this is a great opportunity for us to step in and set ourselves up as a key player in the Malaysian energy market. While we have not firmed our expansion plans for the rest of Southeast Asia as of yet, with energy demands in the region set to grow almost two-thirds by 2040 (according to the International Energy Agency), this is a market that Geneco will be keeping a very close watch on.

What can we look forward to in the brand and the company’s near future?
Our efforts to make renewable energy accessible to the public includes bundling solar solutions on rooftops with electric vehicle charging stations in carparks for 14,000 building owners 13,600 landed homes by 2025. We aim to work with industrial and commercial building owners to roll out an electric vehicle charging network consisting of 1,000 charging points by 2025. By offering bundled electricity and EV charging solutions to customers, this network will serve the needs of a new generation of electric vehicles and cement Geneco’s position as owner and operator of the largest electric vehicle charging network by an energy retailer in Singapore. 

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