‘Power bill increases bad news for grassroots’

An NGO on Tuesday warned that an increase in electricity bills next year is likely to affect the city’s poorest people more severely, while a representative of the food and beverage sector said higher bills are yet another blow for the struggling industry.

The two local power companies, CLP and Hongkong Electric, said earlier on Tuesday that tariffs next year will go up by 5.8 and 7 percent, respectively.

Sze Lai-shan from the Society for Community Organisation said grassroots people living in sub-divided flats will see steeper increases in their power bills.

“In sub-divided flats, there may be 20 people. When the residents use electricity, they add [up] and when it’s over a certain level, the charges will be higher,” she said.

Sze said the more expensive bills will be even more difficult for the poor in the summer, when people tend to turn on their air conditioners more.

The chairman of the Federation of Restaurants, Simon Wong, said higher electricity costs are another blow to a food and beverage industry that’s been hit hard by the pandemic.

“We’re still suffering from a loss of business at the moment. The business outlook is still not so promising, as expected,” he said.

Wong said he expects bigger restaurant chains to be dealt a bigger blow by the more expensive power bills.