Singapore says can tame wild power market without state control

SINGAPORE can stabilise wild swings in power prices without needing to impose state control over the energy market, according to a government minister.

Steps including efforts to build standby inventories of liquefied natural gas and requirements on power generation companies to bolster fuel stockpiles have helped “ensure uninterrupted energy supply” and steadied prices “without the need to bring the electricity market under state control within the short to medium term,” Tan See Leng, second minister for trade and industry, told parliament Tuesday.

Tan was responding to a lawmaker’s question asking if temporary nationalisation would be considered as businesses and consumers in the city-state struggle with soaring wholesale costs of electricity, and after some power retailers collapsed.

Wholesale electricity prices last month had a series of spikes close to a maximum limit of S$4,500 ($3,261) a megawatt-hour, which was last reached in 2012, because of tight fuel supply as global utilities contend with the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Retailers have been particularly exposed to the price fluctuations as they buy power from the wholesale market, but sell to customers at a fixed rate. – Bloomberg