How To Calculate Your Utility Bills
It may be that most Singaporeans are unaware of how their utility bills are calculated and billed. After all, most people simply wait for their utility bills to arrive in their letterbox right? Some people may not even know about the open electricity market and how you can now choose your preferred electricity retailer. In this article, we will be talking about how utility bills in Singapore are read and billed. Additionally, we will also be discussing how post-Circuit Breaker bills may have been far more expensive than expected. So without further ado, let’s get into it!
How Are Residential Households’ Monthly Utility Bill Calculated?
SP Services is the provider that does all non-smart meter reading services for Singaporean residential households. This means that even if you buy electricity from any of the Open Electricity Market retailers, SP Services is still the one that does your reading. Please bear in mind that this only applies to non-smart meters.
As non-smart meters require physical checking and reading, these reading services are only done once every two months. This is done so that administrative costs can be reduced. This means that there are months where the meters are not read, and instead, you are billed an estimated bill amount. This estimate is taken from the average consumption from the previous two-meter readings. In other words, this would mean looking at readings from a four-month period.
As expected, this could mean that there are certain months where the electricity consumption billed could be more or less. There is no need to worry however, you are not being billed for extra electricity. Instead, if any overestimation or underestimation is found, a correction will be done in the following month’s bill. This means that everything will be accounted for and you will definitely only be paying for what you have used!
To make this more understandable, I will give an example. Say for the month of January, you used $40 worth of electricity. Based on past records, your average was $45 and as such, you were billed an extra $5. In February, you used $40 worth of electricity again. The reading is taken in February and they see that you were previously billed extra. A correction will then be made for February’s bill and you will only have to pay $35. This means that the previously extra paid $5 was brought forward. In other words, you don’t have to worry about paying more or less. Any mistakes between actual usage and billed usage made will be corrected every two months.
How Did Circuit Breaker Affect Bills?
For many, you may have been shocked by your June or July bill. It may have seemed outrageously overpriced. Did SP Services make a mistake? There’s no way your household utilized so much electricity!
Well, that’s because your June or July bill wasn’t just for that month. Instead, it included any underestimation from previous months. During Circuit Breaker, readings by SP Services were suspended. As such, no readings were done for April and May. The bills for those months were completely based on averages of their previous readings. When services restarted in July and July, the actual usage of customers was then read and recorded. April and May also had most people working from home. Therefore, it would be no surprise that there was a greater usage of expenditure in those months. They would obviously have been more than what was used in previous months. As such, for most people, there was definitely added usage from those months included in their June or July bill.
In other words, don’t worry! You were not overcharged at all. Instead, you could see it as being undercharged in previous months and finally being charged for all your actual usage. This must have been shocking for many to see, especially if the Circuit Breaker caused tighter finances for you. Thankfully, the Fortitude Budget did include considerations for this! Every household with at least one Singaporean citizen was given a one-off $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit. This was added in the hopes of covering any additional utility bills from Circuit Breaker. This $100 credit should be credited to a household’s utilities account in the months of July or August. Additionally, there will also be U-Save rebates credited in July. This should hopefully cover many households in the increase in utility costs.
How Can I Make My Monthly Bill Be Based On Actual Consumption?
For some, the idea of an estimated bill might be unwanted. The idea of adjustment may seem too complicated. Fortunately, you can make changes to ensure that your monthly bill is based on your household’s actual consumption.
The easiest and best way to do this would be to replace the traditional cumulative meter for your house with a smart meter. If you haven’t heard of it, the smart meter is also known as the Advanced Metering Infrastructure Meter. Using this meter will allow you to see your half-hourly electricity usage through the SP Utilities app. All of this data is sent daily to SP Services and the total is calculated at the end of every month for billing.
If you are interested in having a smart meter installed, you can call SP Services. Alternatively, you can use the SP Services Customer Portal to submit a request. This installation will cost you $40 (excluding GST).
If you don’t want a smart meter installed, you can also do your own meter reading for the months where your reading is estimated. After reading it, you can submit the reading to the SP Group through several options. The first is through the SP Utilities application, the second is through the SP Utilities Portal, the third would be to Whatsapp a photo of your meter to 8482 8636, the fourth would be to email the photo and finally, the fifth would be to call SP Services to submit it using the automated service.
We hope this explains better how utility bills and meter readings are done in Singapore. In any case, most usages are corrected and accounted for in the following month. There is no need to be too worried about incorrect charges being made. If you feel that an incorrect reading has been made, you can always submit your meter reading to SP Services for checking.