Most domestic households are not expected to fork out more than an additional HK$10 per month.
Towngas will raise its basic tariff by 4.4 per cent from August, but Hong Kong’s dominant gas supplier has said about 70 per cent of domestic households will pay no more than an additional HK$10 (US$1.27) per month.
In a statement on Thursday, Towngas said it planned to raise its basic tariff to 27.2 cents per megajoule starting from August 1. The provider said the hike, its first since August 2019, was needed to cope with increasing operating costs due to inflation and future investment expenditure.
It was estimated that about 70 per cent of residential customers will pay no more than an extra HK$10 for their gas consumption each month, and about 50 per cent of its commercial and industrial customers will pay less than an additional HK$290 every month.
Some 50,000 households, including the elderly and low-income families under the company’s concession schemes, will not be subjected to the tariff hike. The maintenance charge for residential customers, meanwhile, will remain unchanged at HK$9.50 a month.
Towngas, which typically introduces a tariff hike once every two years, did not raise prices as expected last year because of the Covid
-19 pandemic’s impact on the economy. While it continues to face cost pressures, it had no timeline to increase tariffs this year.
“We are very prudent when it comes to tariff adjustments, taking into full consideration our customers’ ability to absorb the additional expenses,” Towngas managing director Alfred Chan Wing-kin said in the statement.
He added the company had made every effort to raise revenue and reduce costs.
“However, the increase in costs still could not be offset by the increase in revenue,” Chan said, adding the company had continued to invest over HK$1 billion in its gas network and infrastructure annually to ensure safe and reliable gas supply.
But Society for Community Organisation’s deputy director Sze Lai-shan said a 4 per cent increase was considered high for those who were already struggling to pay their rent and food cost.