Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Friday, Feb 03, 2023

Hong Kong’s low-income families cut back on food as electricity rates increase

Hong Kong’s low-income families cut back on food as electricity rates increase

Tenants will struggle with electricity tariff increase, says member of Kwai Chung Subdivided Flat Residents Alliance.

Tenants living in Hong Kong’s subdivided flats have said they might skip soup for dinner or cut their children’s extracurricular activities to save money for a coming electricity tariff increase.

“Everything is getting more expensive. I pretty much cut unnecessary costs the best I can,” said Connie Lo Sue-yin, 36, a housewife living in a 150 sq ft subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po with her husband and three-year-old daughter.

Lo said her family’s HK$17,000 (US$2,176) monthly income came from her 36-year-old husband, who worked as a truck driver.

The family paid HK$5,300 in rent each month and spent an additional HK$1,400 on average each month on electricity and water bills.


Zeng Xiaobao at home in Sham Shui Po. Zeng lives with her husband and two children in a subdivided flat.

“We were charged HK$1.8 per kilowatt-hour by the landlord, which is already higher than other people. I bet the landlord will pass the tariff hike onto us after the power companies did,” Lo said.

She added her lease would be renewed in February, when the rent was expected to be raised.

CLP Power on Tuesday revealed it would keep its basic tariff unchanged but increase its fuel charge to 62 cents per kWh. Taking into account an existing rebate, their bills will be 6.4 per cent higher starting in January compared with November’s level. HK Electric said it would increase its basic rate by 5 per cent to 114.5 cents per kWh, and raise the fuel charge to 82.5 cents per kWh, up 3.7 per cent, amounting to an overall increase of 5.5 per cent compared with this month’s prices.

The current overall per kWh charges by CLP Power and HK Electric work out to HK$1.485 and HK$1.878 per, respectively.

To save money, Lo said she might make less double-stewed soup on her induction stove and buy groceries on special during closing time at the wet markets.

“My daughter loves soup. It’s not too expensive but you have to spend at least HK$50 for a pot of soup. We just can’t do it every day. Maybe we will make it twice a week and split a pot of soup for two days,” the mother said.

Lo said she was lucky because her daughter who started school this year was fully covered by a kindergarten and child care centre fee subsidy scheme. She added she would look for a part-time job once her daughter settled in.

Kenny Ng Kwan-lim, a member of the Kwai Chung Subdivided Flat Residents Alliance, said tenants would bear a heavy burden no matter how much the tariff was raised by because some landlords overcharged them for water and electricity.

“The fixed price for subdivided flats tenants is HK$1.5 to HK$1.6 per kWh, which is higher than ordinary residents. The most expensive ones can reach HK$2.8 to HK$3 per kWh,” Ng said on a radio programme on Tuesday.

Also living in a subdivided flat in Sham

Shui Po, Zeng Xiaobao was fretful about the tariff hike, saying she felt cornered by financial stresses.

“We live in a small space and don’t have a lot of money. I feel so stressed because I need to pay extra on seemingly everything. The increase is just rubbing salt in the wound,” said the 38-year-old housewife.

Zeng paid HK$1,300 for utility bills monthly on top of the HK$6,000 rent for a 150 sq ft flat on a family income of HK$20,000. Her landlord charged HK$1.8 per kWh.

Living with her 39-year-old construction worker husband and two children aged three and seven, Zeng was cautious of every cent she spent on food and groceries. However, she worried more about the chain reaction caused by the electricity tariff increase.

“Water and gas bills, as well as rent, will follow after the electricity price increase. Landlords tend to do that,” Zeng said, adding she might have to cut her daughter’s extracurricular activities.

“She’s currently having dance lessons once a week, as well as English tutoring classes. If money is tight after the electricity bill goes up, we might reluctantly stop her from learning to dance,” she said. “There’s not much you can save on buying food.”

CLP announced it would provide 50,000 tenants of subdivided flats each with a one-off HK$800 fuel subsidy.

However, the alliance’s Ng said a “very hot weather subsidy” providing HK$500 for four consecutive months in summer would be more practical for tenants.

“There are no windows in subdivided flats. When the air is not circulated, the air conditioner needs to be turned on for a long time, which consumes more electricity than ordinary households,” Ng said.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
Domestic COVID-19 drug effective in trial
HK to see a full recovery, John Lee says in New Year message
Bargain hunters flock to last day of Hong Kong brands and products expo
Hong Kong aims for January 8 reopening of border with mainland China
×