Electricity bills to rise by up to seven percent

Hong Kong’s two power companies have announced price increases from January 1, with charges to rise by 7 percent on Hong Kong Island and 5.8 percent in the New Territories and Kowloon.

HK Electric and CLP blamed rising fuel prices for the increases, saying international costs have surged since the beginning of this year, with coal prices jumping as much as 185 percent and natural gas prices by more than 60 percent.

The basic charge for each unit of electricity people use will be frozen and only the fuel surcharge will go up. The two firms said this means an average three-member household will end up paying an extra HK$20 to HK$24 per month.

“Apart from the rise in international fuel price, our operating costs are actually increasing. The fact that we can freeze the basic tariff is because we have already deployed resources in the tariff stabilisation fund, as well as the fuel clause account,” said CLP’s managing director Chiang Tung-keung.

Wan Chi-tin, managing director of HK Electric, said the company has done its best to contain the rise, adding that the increase in fuel prices is out of its control.

At a press conference with the two companies, Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing said two subsidies the government rolled out in recent years should be able to alleviate people’s burden when it comes to electricity bills.

“There are two funding schemes that help to reduce the tariff expenses borne by the households. Just look at the two relief schemes, they are already higher than the expected increase per household … that should be good enough to relieve their burden in the coming year,” Wong said.

A HK$1,000 subsidy paid in instalments is expected to come to an end in May, while a HK$50 monthly rebate is set to last until December 2023.