Electrifying the competition
With their brand new state-of-the-art electricity power plant, PacificLight Power Pte Ltd, together with its retail arm PacificLight Energy Pte Ltd, are in the process of securing a bigger customer base and the brand recognition they deserve
Writer Emily Jarvis
Project manager Ben Wigger
PacificLight Power Pte Ltd is an electricity power generation company that owns and operates an 800MW Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plant with an investment value of over SGD$1.2bn. "We have one of the most efficient combined cycle plants operating in Singapore and this has enabled us to compete effectively in the liberalised electricity market," explained Yu Tat Ming, the CEO of PacificLight Power. The plant, located on Jurong Island in Singapore, is one of the highest efficiency plants in the region.
Critical to the plant's operation is a continuous supply of fuel, namely natural gas. PacificLight Power has a long term fuel supply arrangement with BG Singapore Gas Marketing Pte Ltd for its supply of LNG and is currently the largest consumer of LNG in Singapore. BG delivers LNG to the recently built LNG terminal that is operated by Singapore LNG Corporation Pte Ltd. The terminal was completed in May 2013 and to date the supply chain has worked seamlessly. "Having a reliable and proven fuel supply from BG gives us comfort that the supply chain will remain strong."
PacificLight Energy Pte Ltd is a licensed electricity retailer selling electricity to eligible consumers in Singapore. Currently, any non-residential consumer whose consumption is at least 10,000 kWh per month can buy electricity from a licensed retailer. The company's existing customer base includes manufacturing companies, small and medium sized enterprises and service companies. "We enhance our value within the market by providing our customers with a customisable electricity package that can be tailored to meet their individual needs," stated Mr Yu.
PacificLight Power is majority-owned (70%) by FPM Power Holdings Ltd (FPM Power), with the remaining stake held by PETRONAS Power Sdn Bhd. FPM Power is a 60:40 joint venture between First Pacific Company Ltd and MERALCO PowerGen Corporation respectively.
Liberalised Electricity Market
Singapore operates a liberalised electricity market; the current market has been operating successfully since 2003. The market is underpinned by transparent policies and rational market players.
There is currently 12,800 MW of installed generating capacity in Singapore which means that PacificLight's plant represents 6.2% of the total installed capacity. Over 21% of the installed capacity in Singapore consists of older plants that are not used regularly due to the low efficiency levels. The majority of plants in Singapore (76%) use either piped natural gas or LNG.
Jurong Island Power Generation Facility
The Jurong Island plant commenced construction in June 2011 and was built by a consortium of Siemens and Samsung, commencing its commercial operations in the first quarter of this year. Throughout the construction process PacificLight maintained an excellent relationship with the construction contractor: "The plant they have delivered to us is proving to be extremely efficient and reliable," remarked Yu. "We were able to complete the plant on time, and within budget." Furthermore, they achieved almost 7.5million man hours without a lost time incident during the plant's 2 ½-year construction period. In recognition of this safety record, the contractor received an award in 2013 from the Singapore Workplace Safety& Health Council for their Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) policies.
The company continues to get the Jurong Island plant off the ground, after securing a sizable retail customer base before they started operations. "The transition from construction to the operation phase went without any hitches which made it easier to secure customers, thereby helping in terms of our finances." The company's primary focus in 2013 was to establish the retail arm of their business and to ensure Mr. Yu's team was adequately prepared to take over the daily operation of the power plant. Both of these objectives were successfully met due to the hard work of the whole team.
With 110 staff across PacificLight Power and PacificLight Energy, the company handpicked and recruited an extremely capable and experienced team of professionals who are very familiar with the Singapore market, as Yu cited: "All of our management team are energy industry veterans with a combined experience of over 110 years. We have done everything to make sure we have the most capable people to manage PacificLight and the future of the company. A competitive remuneration package and a conducive environment are vital to retaining staff."
The Competitive Nature of the Market in Singapore
Singapore has always been a competitive marketplace, so it should come as no surprise that PacificLight is dealing with a capacity issue. "This puts pressure on all power generation companies in Singapore but we take this in our stride. we are always looking for ways to improve the operations of the company to reduce cost, at the same time, tailoring a more unique service to customers that will make us stand out from the crowd," emphasized Yu. "What we offer is something that could possibly be replicated by our competitors. However, what sets us apart is that we are continually upgrading to stay ahead." Operating in a very competitive market requires PacificLight to continuously look for ways to improve efficiency, increase value and reduce costs.
The accomplishment that Mr. Yu is most proud of is the progress the company has made in such a short span of time. "When we first started we had absolutely nothing at all; we had no policies, procedures or staff. Since then, we have defined our business process, mapped our strategic direction and prepared all the policies and procedures with minimal help from third parties. This has placed us in good stead for the future," affirmed Mr Yu.
The company's immediate target is to improve their reach to the market. "We continually look at ways of increasing our competitive edge. With the further opening up of Singapore's electricity market in 2014, consumers will expect better customer service and competitive prices. PacificLight is well-prepared for this new landscape and is committed to providing value through tailored energy solutions for our future customers."
Through the exchange with Mr Yu, it became clear that he wanted to highlight his desire to share the benefit of competitive pricing with customers: "As a newcomer, it will take some time for the industry to recognise us. We are in a fortunate position in that our shareholders are very well known and financially secure. The next step is to achieve higher brand recognition."
State of the Art Power
With the ambitious aim to become the preferred electricity retailer in Singapore, Mr Yu is confident that PacificLight can demonstrate their strong competitiveness in the market, underpinned by their state of the art generation plant and a focus on providing tailored energy solutions demonstrative of excellent customer service. The company's plan for the next five years is to establish PacificLight as a credible and responsible player that offers electricity consumers in Singapore the best service. "The secret to our success is our group of committed staff who work tirelessly to ensure PacificLight achieves its maximum potential for both the power generation and electricity retail businesses. Their faith in us reflects the confidence in our company, and I am indeed very fortunate," highlighted Mr Yu.
The CEO and staff at PacificLight are aligned and driven towards a common goal of ensuring the success of PacificLight. "All of us are clear about what needs to be done and how each of us can contribute to the success of the organisation."