Archive for September 2008

Time to open up the energy market in Singapore

I guess most of you would have heard about the last minute 21% electricity bills hike starting Oct 2008.

It funny. Government giving us GST offset package in Oct, and straight away we are returning to them because of MRT fare hike, Bus fare hike, newspaper price increase and now electricity bill increase. Sometimes I rather the government not give us those offset package and spare us the increase. Oh wait…. these companies have been privatized (Although majority of their shares still belongs to Temasek Holdings). So it’s not the government’s fault that they are increasing prices.

Sorry, I digress.

I think it’s time we open up the energy market for more competitions to come in. Singapore Power (SP) has been privatized since Oct 1995. That’s 13 years of being a private entity without any competition in this market. SP still operate much like the government agency it used to be 13 years ago.

I’ve always heard from my dad and friends about how difficult the process was to apply for utilities. I didn’t know it was that bad until I experienced it first hand last month when I need to apply for electricity at my new office. Firstly, tons of documents are required. Some of them makes no logic at all. Then the inflexibility of the rules. I was terminating an account from the old office and apply for a new account for the new office. But I can’t transfer the deposit from the old account to the new account. I need to pay a new set of deposit for the new office and wait for them to release the deposit for the old office.

And what’s up with the deposit anyway? Why do we need to pay a huge deposit just to get electricity at our office and home? Do you know how many household and offices are using electricity from SP? How much deposit do they have in their banks? OK, I’m sure they are using the deposit for investment. And so long as you have a house/office, your deposit is as good as being theirs. That’s an excellent business model. Either you pay a deposit so that I can use that money to invest, else you will not get electricity. Since there is only one company in Singapore to get electricity, everyone has no choice but to pay the deposit.

I still remember in the past when you need to pay deposit to Singtel to apply for phoneline. But all these has been scraped since the opening up of the Telco market. We no longer need to pay deposit.

I always like to use the Telco market as example. I feel that the Telco market in Singapore is the best example of consumer benefiting from competition. Prices of electricity and manpower has been increasing all the time. But when was the last time the 3 Telco increase their charges? They even roll out new technology like 3G network without passing the cost to consumer. Competition is the key factor that kept our phone bills in check. The 3 Telco, like almost every company in Singapore, are experiencing increase in their operating cost. But instead of passing the cost down to the consumers like SP, they cut cost by being more efficient. Because they know that they cannot afford to be more expensive than their competitors.

But for the SP, there is no need for them to be more efficient. There is no need for them to keep their operating cost down. When the operating cost goes up, all they need to do is to increase the electricity bills. We, the consumers, can’t do anything because of the monopoly in the energy market. There is no alternative for us to switch to. There is no competition to keep the prices in check. There is no motivation for SP to be more cost effective.

I think it’s time we open up the energy market in Singapore so that we will not see another 21% price hike. And seriously, where is CASE? What are you guys doing about this 21% hike?

I complained to the lady at the SP counter about how troublesome and inflexible her company is when I was applying for electricity. (In a chit chat manner. Not bang table hor) I told her that it was a lot easier to apply for telephone line from Singtel. She replied to me saying “That is because we have no competitions in the market.”

And I couldn’t agree with her more.

Xizor pointed out that while Singapore electricity tariff is going up, Hong Kong electricity tariff is going down. Hong Kong has 2 companies supplying electricity to the resident. Competition is the key to keeping prices down.

All those in favor of opening up the energy market, say “aye”.

Chevy Night Race Party

While most people are watching the F1 race at home, I was lucky enough to be invited by Chevrolet to attend their private F1 party at Gotham Penthouse. So instead of watching the race on my tiny 29 inch TV, I get to watch the race on a large projector screen. And they are using Star Sport, not the sub-standard commentary from Channel 5. Woohoo!

As you all know, I was begging looking for someone to join me at the event. In the end, I choose to go to the event with Lu Yee. Haven’t seen her for quite some time already.

Met up with Nicole and Terence at the event. We were lucky to grab a good seat near the projector screen. Apart from watching the F1 race, there is also a remote control car race happening at Gotham Penthouse. Terence and I took part in the race but both of us didn’t manage to get pass the first qualifying round. Guess must be the beer that us had. Remember, when you drink, don’t drive. (Including remote control cars)

The invited guests are mostly new Chevrolet car owners. Most of them were rather quiet throughout the race. Either everyone is cheering inside their heart or they are shocked that Ferrari make a big mistake. In the end, it was Fernando Alonso who claim the first spot. Who would have expect the Renault driver to win from a grid 15 start.

I’m glad I was invited to the event. Good food, beers and great company makes the exciting F1 race even more enjoyable.

Thanks to Clarence and Earth9 for the invite. Thanks to General Motors and Chevrolet for the great event.

There is always room at the top

I always love Techno, Trance, Instrumental and Retro. (I know, weird combi)
My first exposure to clubbing is retro music. I still remember going Venom with my classmates on Thursday Retro night. At one point, I was there like virtually almost every Thursday night. And only retro music can get me to the dance floor. I used to be able to do those hand gestures for the retro songs.

Those were the days. Now too old already. Can’t dance anymore. Prefer to sit down and drink beer.

It’s hard for me to pick my favorite retro songs. I have too many favorite Retro Songs. Songs like “A Little Respect”, “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “The Great Commandment”, “I heard a rumor”, “Together Forever”, “You Spin Me Round”, “Venus”, “I want you back”, “Blame It On The Boogie”, “Never Gonna Give You Up”, “Strange Love”, “Once in a Lifetime”, “Room at the top”, “Forever Young”, “Tarzan Boy” etc etc etc….. You get the point.

It’s always nice to switch to listen Retro Songs once in a while. I like to listen to Retro Songs when something is troubling me. It sort of calm me down and makes me feel better. The choice for tonight is Room at the Top by Adam Ant. It’s to remind myself that there is always room at the top. Don’t let anyone tell me that there is not. It’s time for me to move out of this comfort zone and go to the top.

Not really the ideal song to play on a peaceful night. You might want to turn your speakers volume down a bit before playing the youtube video.

Adam Ant – Room At The Top

Once is never enough
Never is never was
Here and now is all that counts
Here and now in large amounts
Be beautiful but shut up
The going can be real tough

You can keep your fancy bars
Clubby friends and fast cars
And when the going gets hard
You can eat your credit cards
I really tried to fight it
But what the hell I like it

There is always room at the top
Dont let them tell you there is not
Made in england born and bred
An eighteenth century brain
In a twenty first century head

Room at the top — so eighteenth century
Room at the top — so eighteenth century
Room at the top
Theres always room

If some of this fits some of you
Or like the things that you might do
Its the pleasure and the pain
That makes us do it all again
They say
Be beautiful and shut up
The going can be real tough

Define: Podcast

This is a podcast. –> 65bits

This is also a podcast. –> mrbrown show

This is still a podcast, although most people call it a videocast. –> Diggnation

But this is NOT A PODCAST –> The Noose Podcast

Class dismissed.

Further reading –> Wikipedia: Podcast

A podcast is a series of audio or video digital-media files which is distributed over the Internet by syndicated download, through Web feeds, to portable media players and personal computers. Though the same content may also be made available by direct download or streaming, a podcast is distinguished from other digital-media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added.

How McLaren-Mercedes prepares for the first F1 night race

A sneak peak at how the McLaren-Mercedes team prepares for the first F1 night race held in Singapore.

Ok ok…. it’s supposed to be a joke. But they really got great sense of humor.