Hong Kong power company CLP in bid to boost local spending with HK$220 million subsidies plan

·4-min read

A Hong Kong power company has pledged subsidies worth HK$220 million (US$28.3 million) in a bid to encourage energy efficiency and boost local spending.

CLP Power, which serves Kowloon, the New Territories and Lantau Island, said on Thursday that it would give HK$100 worth of consumption coupons to nearly 800,000 eligible households, including residential customers with low power consumption, the elderly and 10,000 subdivided housing tenants.

It also pledged one-off HK$1,000 subsidies to 50,000 low-income, disabled, elderly and subdivided tenant families.

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“We are launching these community support programmes for 2022 to accelerate the pace of Hong Kong’s recovery from the pandemic, promote the low-carbon transformation of society and care for families in need,” Quince Chong, CLP Power’s chief corporate development officer, said.

Quince Chong (right) and Lo Kwok Yau of CLP Power introduce the utility company’s various community support programmes to be launched in 2022. Photo: Handout
Quince Chong (right) and Lo Kwok Yau of CLP Power introduce the utility company’s various community support programmes to be launched in 2022. Photo: Handout

The utility will tap its Community Energy Saving Fund, which started operating in 2019, to finance the move.

The money comes from incentives provided by the government to CLP for helping customers save energy, with 65 per cent going toward the fund under a 15-year scheme established in 2018.

Subsidies for underprivileged households and other groups have increased over the past two years, starting from HK$70 million in its first year to HK$160 million last year.

This year, in addition to the HK$80 million in retail and catering coupons, and HK$50 million for subsidies, another HK$33 million has been earmarked to encourage commercial and industrial customers to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

CLP has already subsidised more than 4,000 commercial and industrial customers this year, and helped with upgrading electrical appliances such as air conditioners and lighting, saving more than 28 gigawatt hours of power – equal to the annual energy consumption of 6,500 residential customers.

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The subsidies will be extended into 2022, with a cap of HK$10,000 for most commercial and industrial customers, though businesses with larger power use will receive up to HK$150,000.

“Non-residential customers make up nearly two-thirds of our power consumption,” Lo Kwok-yau, CLP’s deputy director of corporate customer experience, said. “This year, under our various initiatives to encourage companies to upgrade their electrical equipment and retro-commission their buildings, we have laid the foundation and received quite a good reaction in terms of energy saving among businesses.”

William Yu Yuen-ping, chief executive of the environmental group the World Green Organisation, said there was a real effect in terms of energy savings as CLP expanded the subsidies to cover commercial customers.

“Changing lifts show the biggest reductions in energy use, followed by lighting,” Yu said. “But as we move towards carbon neutrality, the government will need to look at every part of [cutting power use].”

Other measures to cut emissions could include buying offset credits, and even looking into carbon capture technology, in which the planet-warming substance is sequestered before it enters the atmosphere and either stored or reused.

But the shift to renewables and away from carbon-heavy coal would take a while, Yu said, and in the meantime, the government should step up power-saving initiatives.

“Education is definitely an important measure, teaching people about the importance of saving resources, but coming trends will see electricity rates increase, which means the more you save, the less economic burden you bear,” he said.

The subsidies also come as CLP and Hong Kong Electric, the city’s two power companies, are expected to raise tariffs for next year. Chong said her firm was still in talks with the government about the rate increases.

Meanwhile, she added, the power company was committed to upholding the government’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050.

CLP was in the process of studying the feasibility of developing an offshore wind farm in the city’s southern waters as the technology and cost had improved, she said, while also exploring the possibility of regional collaboration on other renewable and low-carbon energy sources.

Additionally, the company was also providing customers with information on how to save electricity through its smart meter projects, as well as setting aside HK$2 million to design online energy conservation games allowing residents to earn points in exchange for rewards, such as food coupons.

This article Hong Kong power company CLP in bid to boost local spending with HK$220 million subsidies plan first appeared on South China Morning Post

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