Town councils' electricity bills soar

In a bid to lower soaring electricity bills, town councils are looking at ways to manage their electricity consumption rather than raise service and conservancy charges (S&CC).

Member of Parliament (MP) for the Bishan-Toa Payoh group representation constituency (GRC) Hri Kumar, who is also the area's town council chairman, said that the council's utility expenses shot up from $5.9 million in 2005 to $8.2 million in the previous financial year due to a rise in electricity tariffs.

The council's electricity bill accounts for around 22 per cent of residents' S&CC.

In his message entitled "A Very Nasty Shock" on the council's website, Kumar said measures are already put in place to reduce electricity consumption -- such as turning off alternative corridor lights after midnight.

In addition, by 2016, more than 80 per cent of the fluorescent lighting in the estate would be changed to LED, which is more energy efficient.

He wrote: "I ask for your understanding and support for these changes. I also ask that you join us in this fight against rising costs by suggesting ways the town council can reduce its expenses and stretch your dollar."

Michael Palmer, Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council chairman, told Today that the town council's utility bill rose from S$15.76 million in FY2007/2008 to S$19.18 million in the last financial year.

Palmer attributed the increase to higher electricity tariffs and the new HDB flats built in the constituency.

The council has introduced energy saving measures such as switching off non-essential lights after a certain timing, changing light fittings for greater efficiency and installing solar panels in Punggol.

Jurong and Aljunied town councils raised the S&CC in April last year, citing rising electricity prices and maintenance costs.

In 2008, because the government froze fees due to high inflation, all 14 PAP town councils did not raise their S&CC.

The last time they all raised the charges was in 2004.