4 Questions with Senoko’s Paul Maguire

In October 2014, he joined Senoko Energy as its new President & CEO. He shares his vision for developing Singapore's oldest power generation company.

Magnus Bocker Photo credit: Senoko Energy

With your experience in the Australian market and energy sector, could you share your vision and strategy to take Senoko to the next level of growth?

The Singapore government has identified some key strategies for our sector around retail contestability, renewable energy and energy services. These are aligned with Senoko’s strategic direction and provide opportunities for us to grow our business. Senoko has a reputation for excellent customer service, and we will continue to focus on meeting our customers’ needs.

In a competitive market like Singapore, you also need to be very efficient. With the current excess generation capacity and its implications for market share and gas “take or pay” requirements, we need to find sensible ways to minimise the cost of delivering power and gas to customers. Hence, streamlining our operations for higher levels of productivity will be a priority.

I believe that in the future, people will talk about Senoko as an efficient, customer-friendly provider of energy solutions rather than just an electricity generation business.

EMA has been liberalising the retail electricity market to enable commercial and industrial consumers to buy from retailers of their choice. How do you plan to grow Senoko’s retail business in Singapore?

Retail success is about customer service and understanding the needs of your customers. We expect customers will always look at price. However, as technology changes, we will grow our retail business not just through acquiring more customers, but also by offering products to help our customers measure and manage their energy consumption.

Are there any power projects out there that you are particularly excited about?

We are keenly watching the development of renewable energy here. Singapore’s electricity is mostly generated by natural gas. The next leap towards greener electricity would be renewables. Solar is the most viable source of renewable energy here and it is heartening that Singapore has concrete plans to expand its use.

As an innovative business, we are also watching the development of green transport with interest. We have a well-used electric car and were pleased to read that electric car sharing is a transport option in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.

There have been significant shifts in the energy landscape recently, from the rise of shale to the recent turmoil in the oil markets. What are the biggest challenges for the power industry in Singapore and the region?

I believe the challenges involve providing affordable energy for families and businesses. We will also need to embrace the community’s growing desire to live more sustainably and to have information access on their energy consumption.

This means the market infrastructure and systems must evolve in a cost-effective way to adopt proven and new technology. This could involve intermittent small-scale solar generation, battery storage and the installation of so-called “smart meters”. The latter would provide detailed information on energy consumption to customers more quickly and accurately than ever before.