Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Monday, Jul 22, 2024

How to reduce the pain of Hong Kong’s higher power bills

How to reduce the pain of Hong Kong’s higher power bills

Turning to the use of coal is not the answer, with the world – Hong Kong included – facing the worrying scenario of sea level rise. Across the city, however, home dwellers, commercial landlords and tenants can do their bit to conserve energy and reduce carbon emissions.
Hong Kong people and businesses will have to dig deeper from next month to pay higher electricity tariffs. Taking into account the rise in fuel clause charges, customers will effectively be paying CLP Power and HK Electric 19.8 per cent and 45.6 per cent more respectively by the coming January, compared with the start of the year.

These are the highest increases I can recall in 60 years. Well-off people would not feel much financial pain, but for low-income households, it is a different story. They may have to cut spending on other essential items to cope.

Natural gas is a relatively cleaner fuel to use for power generation and while it is known to be more expensive than coal, the price gap is predictable in normal circumstances. However, soon after the outbreak of war in Ukraine in February, natural gas supplies became unstable and some parts of the world faced impending shortages. This made prices shoot up.

To cope with this energy supply crunch while maintaining economic recovery, some countries have reversed their energy policies by increasing the use of coal. This has led to a rebound in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists in the United States, the amount of planet-warming carbon dioxide broke a record this year. As measured at the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory in Hawaii, the concentration of the gas reached nearly 421 parts per million (ppm) in May, an increase of 1.8 ppm over 2021. These levels have been described as comparable to the Pliocene Climatic Optimum, more than 4 million years ago, when sea levels were between 5 to 25 metres higher than today.

When Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong in September 2018, many places flooded. Tai Po Kau recorded a sea level rise of 3.4 metres as a result of storm surge. Coupled with astronomical tide, the highest sea level reached 4.71 metres, a touch lower than the record of 5.03 metres set by Typhoon Wanda in 1962.

It is a worrying scenario to imagine, that of Hong Kong facing a sea level rise of more than 5 metres on a more permanent basis. The MTR networks which most of us rely on for daily commuting might be disrupted by flooding, not to mention the impact on road traffic.

Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan was criticised for how he described the electricity tariff hikes for the coming year. The criticism might have been avoided if Tse had also announced what measures the government would take to help Covid-hit businesses and low-income families cope with their increased tariff burden.

The former administration missed an opportunity in 2018 to introduce significant changes to the Scheme of Control Agreements signed with the two power companies. Instead, it merely lowered the permitted rate of return from 9.99 per cent to 8 per cent, all the while knowing that other public utilities, like transport, do not operate under a similar profit guarantee mechanism.

As fuel prices are more likely to rise than fall in the future, one practical solution is to conserve energy. There are steps anybody can take with or without extra cost involved.

For example, turning up the thermostat of your air conditioning system at home or work in summer by at least 1 degree Celsius will help save on electricity by 10 per cent. If the relative humidity of the indoor environment can be lowered by using a desiccant dehumidifier instead of air conditioning, you will find it is still comfortable at 26 degrees, thus saving even more electricity.

Energy-saving devices such as vacuum insulated glass can be fitted behind the glass facade to lower solar radiation that otherwise will warm up the room.

Landlords of commercial buildings charge tenants an air-conditioning fee on top of the management fee. The air-conditioning fee is usually based on the area of occupied space rather than the actual cool air usage. This provides no incentive for tenants to conserve energy by reducing their use of air conditioning.

If tenants are billed according to actual cool air usage, I believe many will adjust the temperature setting, which tends to be cold, instead of comfortable, in places like restaurants, cinemas and offices.

Landlords would also save huge amounts on their electricity bill by raising slightly the water temperature of the chiller. This collaborative effort would help slash carbon emissions from buildings too.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×