By Andrea Soh
SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – As competition in the electricity sector hots up, a startup has entered the space to provide comparison services for consumers.
So far, there are eight retailers already on board, and seven more expected to join by the end of this month. Electrify is thus optimistic of its offerings and plans to expand to other South-east Asian markets in the next few years.
“We provide easy access to information upfront in a single platform,” said chief operating officer Martin Lim. Without the platform, consumers would have to make enquiries through the websites of the individual retailers – a tedious and tiresome process given that there are currently 25 retailers of which 16 are active, he added.
The firm’s website shortens the entire process to five to 10 minutes, within which consumers, after comparing prices and other parameters of an electricity package from various retailers, can sign up for a contract with digital payment options.
Electrify is also looking to work with telcos and transport service providers to provide bundled deals.
Singapore’s electricity market has been gradually liberalised over the years. Currently, industries and businesses using over 2 MWh per month have the freedom to buy from any electricity retailer rather than being tied to SP Services. By mid-next year, the market will be fully liberalised, giving some 200,000 more business users and 1.3 million residential users the same freedom.
These markets, coupled with some 59,000 business users who have remained with SP Services despite not having to do so, represent a market size of S$186.6 million, said Mr Lim. He estimates that consumers who switch from SP Services, the default utilities service provider, to other retailers can, on average, enjoy savings of about 20 per cent.
Besides benefiting consumers, Electrify also aims to serve retailers by providing information that allows them to remain competitive. Currently, retailers operate in silos, and have little information about how their products and prices are benchmarked against others.
A proprietary pricing software Fibonacci will allow retailers to enter the spreads they want to offer based on their pricing strategies. Electrify will also provide aggregated information that shows how prices are trending, among others.
Electrify charges retailers a fee by taking a cut from the contracts that are transacted. It also hopes to earn revenue from those that advertise on its site.
The firm said its in-depth industry knowledge and proprietary technology in the form of Fibonacci will set it apart from new competitors which want to offer the same. Both Mr Lim, 46, and chief executive Julius Tan, 28, were from local renewable energy firm Sunseap previously.
Electrify plans to widen its footprint beyond Singapore within the next three years, after the local market stabilises. Vietnam, Thailand and Philippines are some of the more immediate targets, and after that, Australia and the United Kingdom.