Subsidised electricity scheme set to benefit more than 40,000 poor Hong Kong families from next year

Energy company CLP will offer HK$500 subsidies to customers living in poor conditions in Kowloon and the New Territories

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 June, 2018, 8:28pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 June, 2018, 11:08pm

More than 40,000 poor Hong Kong families, a quarter of whom live in subdivided flats, can pay less for their electricity from next year under a scheme launched by a major power company in the city.

The initiative, which involves a cost of HK$70 million in the first year, is part of a programme launched under CLP Power’s Community Energy Saving Fund which will operate in 2019 following commitments made under the new 15-year Scheme of Control Agreement that regulates the city’s two power companies. The funding will come from 65 per cent of the incentives awarded by the government to CLP for helping customers save energy.

The agreement will take effect this October.

Under the programme, CLP will offer annual subsidies of HK$500 to households with poor living conditions in Kowloon and the New Territories.

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The power company will work with NGOs to identify the households in need.

“We will work with different NGOs to look for appropriate candidates,” Chiang Tung-keung, CLP’s managing director said.

It will allocate around HK$10 million to assist residents in subdivided units, including the installation of individual electricity meters.

Apart from offering subsidies for poor households, the fund will also support other measures to reduce energy consumption, including encouraging consumers to save electricity with reward incentives and subsidising business customers to upgrade to energy-efficient electrical equipment.

More details of the initiatives will be announced in the fourth quarter this year.

Separately, Chiang said the company had so far received more than 130 applications for its renewable energy feed-in tariff scheme, which started last month. One-third of applications were sent from village house residents. The remaining applicants come from industrial buildings, schools and NGOs.

Under the scheme, households and businesses that install renewable energy facilities, such as rooftop solar panels or wind systems, would be able to sell the clean electricity to the city’s power grid at higher than market rates of HK$3 (US$0.38) to HK$5 per unit of electricity, depending on capacity.

Environment minister Wong Kam-sing said “the society has [given] positive responses to the scheme” and he said he had confidence that residents would not bear tax burdens for increased revenues because of the scheme.

Asked about the sales of renewable energy certificates, Wong said the first step for the government is to encourage more residents to join the scheme and the details for users to sell the certificates to businesses will be released later.