Water price hike: PAP giving you one drumstick but collecting two chickens

By: Kheng-Liang Tan

Before the budget, the mainstream media had already highlighted that the prices of water may go up “to ensure sustainable supply”. What makes it so shocking after the announcement is the quantum of the price hike: households will eventually pay 30% more for their water.

Given that the average HDB household consumes 18 cubic m of water a month, the hike from $2.10 per cubic m to $2.74 may mean that the average household will pay about $140 a month more in water bills per calendar year after 2018.

Concurrently, there were three earlier increases in electricity and gas tariffs in the past 6 months.

For Q1 2017, electricity tariffs had increased by 5.7% to 20.20 cents per kWh. Given the average consumption of 405 kWh of electricity a month for 4-room households, this will mean that households are paying around $50 a year more for electricity.

Separately,  1 Feb has seen a further 4.5% increase in gas tariffs from 16.85 cents per kWh (1 Nov) to 17.61 cents per kWh (1 Feb). Again, given that 4-room households consume 78 kWh of gas a month, they are paying $7 more a year in gas bills.

Given the above increases, a family living in a 4-room flat will see their utility bills increase by around $200 a year. Yet, the corresponding increase in U-save is only $80 in the latest budget. We have not even considered the S&CC increases for PAP town councils.

As on financial expert pointed out, there was no underlying figures to justify the increases but the government has given a rebate. He thus concludes that this is a “rather strange way” in delivering the price hike.

What do you think?

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