Green group queries CLP Power bonus

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 3:44am

A green group has called for a reform of the bonus system which rewards power firms for achieving energy-saving targets under the regulatory regime.

The call came after Friends of the Earth found out that CLP Power pocketed an estimated HK$17 million bonus a year under the system set out in the scheme of control.

This is more than the HK$15 million gross revenue that the powerhouse gave up in order to meet the targets.

The bonus was given to the firm for meeting the energy audit and saving target set under the current regulatory regime known as the scheme of control.

During the three years to 2011, the firm conducted more than 150 energy audits on non-domestic premises and saved 16 million kilowatt hours a year on average.

Frances Yeung Hoi-shan, senior environmental affairs officer of the group, said CLP was entitled to the HK$17 million bonus - at a fixed rate of 0.02 per cent on its net fixed assets.

But an analysis she conducted found that the firm actually earned a bonus of up to 88 cents for each kilowatt hour saved, compared with an average 25 cents net profit for each kilowatt hour otherwise sold.

Yeung said CLP appeared to be the single biggest winner from conserving the energy as it saved on generation costs while the bonus was paid by its customers through the power tariff.

"There are of course environmental benefits from energy savings. But the public could not fairly share the economic benefits of it."

Yeung called for increasing the energy saving target to one per cent, and to revise the bonus system to allow the public to enjoy the economic benefits.

A spokeswoman for CLP Power last night said the return on electricity sold and the bonus for conserving energy could not be directly compared.

"The primary aim of the bonus is to incentivise the power firm to enhance energy saving measures," she said.

The green group might have underestimated the costs of carrying out energy audits and other energy conservation measures for their clients, the spokeswoman said.