Record power consumption in hot, hazy June

SINGAPORE - Singapore's electricity consumption hit an all-time high of 2,653 MWh (megawatt hour) last month, the Energy Market Company (EMC) has just reported, with Dave Carlson, the CEO of the wholesale electricity market operator, adding that this marked "the highest monthly average level since the start of the market".

While EMC did not spell out the reasons, BT understands from industry sources that June's "hot" power demand resulted from a combination of the sizzling hot weather and haze, plus the rebound in factory output and strong expansion in services here in the second quarter.

MWh represents the number of megawatts produced or consumed in an hour.

"Peak electricity demand rose to as much as 6,600 MW-plus when the haze was at its thickest here last month," one industry official noted.

BT had reported last month that the haze, caused by fires in neighbouring Sumatra, had led to greater use of air-conditioning here, which added to the spike in power usage.

EMC, which disclosed the latest electricity data in its just-released newsletter, said that in the first half of this year, "electricity consumption (or metered demand) saw a consistent ascending trend year on year . . . with the exception of February when there was a dip of 2.1 per cent".

This dip "was in line with the Chinese New Year period in February", it said.

The EMC reading tallied with what power officials told BT that electricity demand here grew by about 2-plus per cent in H1.

"This was due to generally higher power consumption, and was in line with GDP growth here," an industry source told BT.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) last week said that the economy grew by an estimated 2 per cent in H1, and should pick up during the latter part of the year.

The MAS numbers also confirm the Q2 pick-up reported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, which earlier said that gross domestic product rose 3.7 per cent in April-June (from the same period a year ago), accelerating from Q1 when the economy grew a tepid 0.2 per cent.

As for wholesale electricity prices here, EMC said that the monthly average Uniform Singapore Energy Price (Usep) also crossed the $200/MWh mark for the first time this year in June when it reached a monthly average of $201/MWh.

But "despite rising to a high last month, the year-on-year change for the Usep remained negative for the first half of 2013, reaching minus 18.7 per cent in June", it added.

An industry source explained the lower wholesale electricity prices in H1 to "greater competition among the gencos here, especially with total generating capacity outstripping power demand, and also lower oil, and hence gas feedstock prices".

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