Electricity is an essential part of modern life.
This is especially true for Singaporeans who live and work in high-rise buildings, are hopelessly addicted to smartphones, seek respite from the hot and humid weather in air-conditioned rooms and gain some sanity through Netflixing and sometimes-chilling.
And while the usage itself is expected, maybe it's time we look at how we obtain and use that electricity.
Carbon footprint from Singapore household’s consumption of electricity
Household usage is the third highest energy-consuming sector in Singapore (at 14.3 per cent), after industrial (42.5 per cent) and commercial usages (36.8 per cent), according to Energy Market Authority’s 2018 statistics.
The average consumption pattern of a typical resident in Singapore results in over 8,000kg of carbon emissions annually. The amount of greenhouse gas this produces requires 400 rain trees to absorb.
A 2017 survey by the National Environment Agency also shows that electricity used in households mainly goes to powering air-conditioners (24 per cent), refrigerators (17 per cent) and water heaters (11 per cent), followed by other electronic appliances.
Recently, a CNA commentary also revealed an inconvenient truth that even watching Netflix can eventually lead to a significant carbon footprint, due to the increase in energy used for data centres, steaming and television use.
As a whole, the IT sector contributes almost the same amount of carbon emissions as the aviation industry during pre-Covid times at over 2 per cent of global emissions.
As compared to saying no to plastic or taking planes, cutting down on Internet usage might actually be more challenging, as Covid-19 pushes more businesses and consumers into the digital world.
That does not mean there’s nothing we can do about the carbon emissions.
At the very least, we can be more prudent with how we use electricity and our choice of electricity retailer.
Huh, can choose meh?
Yes, EMA has launched the Open Electricity Market gradually since April 2018 which allows residents in Singapore to choose the price plans that best meet their needs.
That includes giving you the freedom to choose iSwitch, an electricity retailer that offers carbon-neutral electricity at no additional cost. With over 100,000 customers, iSwitch is the largest green electricity retailer in Singapore.
Since 2016, 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of carbon emissions have been saved by these iSwitch customers.
No additional costs are imposed on customers when iSwitch purchases carbon credits because this is absorbed into an already market leading energy rate.
Carbon credits are used to compensate activities that result in carbon emissions but cannot be avoided currently, such as your home energy use. The money gained by the UN when one purchases carbon offsets then goes into environmental and/or social projects in developing countries.
Environment-friendly and cost-saving
While iSwitch purchases carbon credits on behalf of consumers under the iSwitch2Green scheme, iSwitch2Green remains one of the most price-competitive fixed price plans in Singapore. (Yes, you get the carbon-neutrality for free.)
For fixed price plans, you pay a fixed price throughout the contract period regardless of changes to the regulated tariff after every quarterly review.
Here are the plans under iSwitch2Green schemes depending on the size of your household. Or you can check out the iSwitch price plan savings calculator here.
While the cost saving varies, the estimated bills under this iSwitch2Green scheme are cheaper than prevailing SP tariff rates.
On top of that, there are other sign-up perks such as up to 5 per cent cash back for UOB One credit card users as well as complimentary AIA personal Accident Protection.
Besides the iSwitch2Green plan, which is a six-month contract, there are other plans that might better meet your needs.
You can choose from “no lock-in” to 36-month contracts, or if you prefer, you can select a plan that offers a fixed discount off the regulated tariff.
To get a quick overview of all you need to know about switching to iSwitch, you can view this handy infographic available online.
To sign up for an iSwitch electricity plan all you need is your SP account, your NRIC number and your premise address. You can do so online in just five minutes.
Top photo via Unsplash by Dan Freeman. This article is sponsored by iSwitch who hopes to help reduce your carbon footprint and bill. Nice.