Paying extra for more environmentally friendly energy is the case almost anywhere in the world.
In 2008, the California state government ordered power companies to get a third of their energy in renewables by 2020. Projected costs were 10.2 per cent higher than without the renewables, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission. There's even a slogan for it: polluter - aka consumer - pays.
Renewables refers to energy from resources such as the sun, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat.
Robert Allender, director of Energy Resources Management, who has been involved in energy consulting in Hong Kong for the past 20 years, and others say we should be focusing on how consumers can save energy, rather than costs from the power companies.
'When I look at this issue of the scheme of control, I think that we're really facing in the wrong direction,' he said. 'When the electric companies said they were going to increase the tariffs, the government should have said, 'We're going to help everyone with their electric bills'. They shouldn't have turned around and argued with the electric companies.'
Allender said the power firms were protected by the scheme of control legislation, which won't be reviewed until 2018. Until then, the only thing we can really control is how much we use.
'I certainly don't think it's the supplier's job to get people to use less of their product,' he said. 'We don't expect that of airlines or hotels or supermarkets.
'Businesses don't need to sit around deciding whether they're convinced of the signs of global warming or not. Any business that's wasting 30 to 50 per cent of its energy that it's paying for is inherently unprofitable.'
However, there is potential unfairness in the scheme of control.
Profit for the power firms is guaranteed as a percentage of their average assets, meaning operating costs of the companies as well as their initial investments in infrastructure. So even if people aren't using as much as the power companies can supply, the firms can charge them as if they were.
The reasoning goes that if everyone were to start saving, and demand for energy overall went down, let's say by a hypothetical generous half, the companies could still charge the same for less energy. In this scenario, people would be paying twice as much per unit of energy.
But Dr Chung Chi-yung, who studies power systems at Polytechnic University, said this situation depended on aggregate demand - the demand from all of Hong Kong - going down at once.
'I don't think electricity demand will drop,' he said. 'For 1 to 2 per cent growth [per year] to become negative? No. It's not easy to educate ... the whole population of Hong Kong to reduce their power consumption.'
And, the firms still have to get government approval to increase prices.
What one household saved in electricity costs in a Friends of the Earth competition last year. The top firm saved 73 per centTopics: Environment Energy Environment Energy Biomass Energy in the United Kingdom Environment