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Singapore household electricity consumption up 22% during 'circuit-breaker'

[SINGAPORE] Household electricity consumption jumped up almost a quarter last month compared to February this year, according to figures from the Energy Market Authority and national grid power operator SP Group.

There was an average increase of 22 per cent between the two months, said the agencies in a joint statement on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for EMA said besides the hotter weather resulting in increased use of fans and air-conditioning, more people were using electronic devices such as computers while staying at or working from home, thus further increasing power consumption.

The agencies said that household electricity consumptioninSingapore typically increases between the warmer months of April to August.

Most people that The Straits Times spoke to said that there had been no significant increase in their utilities bills for June.

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Tan Wan Lin, 27, who lives with her two siblings in a five-room flat in Bedok, was one of those who said that their electricity consumption for April and May was double that in February and March.

"It could be because previously, we were rarely at home. And now suddenly, all three of us have to work from home," she added.

Ms Tan, who is a music teacher and has been conducting online lessons with her students via teleconferencing, said they had switched on the air-con a lot more in May.

"My brother and I close the doors and switch on the air-con in our rooms whenever we teach, so that we wouldn't disturb my sister, who's also working from home.

"Apart from sleeping, the air-con was turned on for an additional 13 hours on average during the 'circuit-breaker' period," said Ms Tan.

The agencies warned that some households here might also see a spike in their electricity bills in June and July.

This is because their bills for the months of April and May were estimated based on their consumption data recorded for previous months and might differ from actual consumption.

Typically, meter readers visit households to record their electricity, water and gas consumption every alternate month. However, during the 'circuit-breaker' period of April 7 to June 1, meter reading services were suspended in line with safe distancing measures.

With the resumption of on-site meter readings, the difference in the amount of electricity consumed during the months of April and May will be reflected in June or July's bills. Hence, some households could see higher bills for these months.

This, however, only applies to the 1.1 million households here who use cumulative meters. For the 300,000 households with advanced electricity meters, electricity consumption data is read remotely. Those households would have been billed based on their actual consumption for April and May.

Earlier in February, the government announced that eligible households in Housing Board flats will receive twice the amount of rebate for utilities expenses this year through a one-off GST Voucher - U-SAVE Special Payment. Eligible households with five or more members will also receive an additional GST Voucher - U-Save rebate.

The next round of rebate disbursement will take place next month, while the first disbursement of the rebate for eligible larger households with five or more members will be in October this year.

As part of the Fortitude Budget announced last month, each household with at least one Singaporean will also receive a one-off S$100 subsidy to cover their utilities bill during the 'circuit-breaker' period. This sum, known as the Solidarity Utilities Credit, will be credited in their utilities bill in July or August and is applicable for households in all property types.

Households are encouraged to submit their own meter readings so as to be billed based on their actual consumption via the SP Utilities app.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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