Government HQ power bill has risen fivefold

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 May, 2012, 12:00am


Despite officials touting the green features of the new headquarters in Admiralty, taxpayers are forking out five times as much for electricity bills than for the old premises.

The average monthly electricity expenditure from October 2011 to March this year was about HK$3.4 million, Chief Secretary Stephen Lam Sui-lung said in a written reply to Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee. From October 2010 to May 2011, the government paid a monthly average of HK$700,000. The average monthly electricity use in the new headquarters from October 2011 to March this year was about 14.6 kilowatt hours per square metre, compared with 6.8 kWh per square metre for the old premises from October 2010 to May 2011.

Lam said it was not appropriate to directly compare consumption levels because the size, facilities and the number of bureaus in the old premises compared with the new site was different.

The complex in Admiralty was completed in August when departments began moving in, with the move completed in December.

But Eu rejected Lam's remarks because the functions for the new premises were the same as the old one, despite differences in design and size. 'It is infuriating that the electricity bills and power consumption in the new headquarters did not come down, but went up despite the installation of multiple environmental features,' Eu said.

Eu said round-the-clock air-conditioning in the new building contributed to 48 per cent of the bill in February, and called on the government to reduce consumption. Lighting accounted for 12 per cent of the bill, while lifts and escalators took up 3 per cent, the government's figures showed.