Charge phone free at 200 stations

Mr Ridwan Hashim, 51, a delivery driver, charging his smartphone at a charging station in nex mall yesterday.
Mr Ridwan Hashim, 51, a delivery driver, charging his smartphone at a charging station in nex mall yesterday.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

On the go and your battery is low? By the end of this year, this will not be so much of a problem as 200 free mobile charging stations will be available islandwide.

The initiative by Singapore Power (SP) is a gift for SG50 presented in partnership with SingHealth, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the National Library Board, NTUC FairPrice supermarkets and several tertiary institutions.

The stations, which will be available for one to two years, will be launched progressively in busy locations, including hospitals, tertiary institutions, libraries and supermarkets.

At least 20 stations are expected to be installed by the middle of next month, with about 40 more added monthly. All units are expected to be in place by December.

SP declined to say how much the effort will cost.

Each station is equipped with 10 individual slots, which contain different charging tips that will fit most mobile phones and tablets, including iPhone models 3 to 6, and a blank USB port for users to insert their own charging cables.

Charging time will be comparable to charging your device at home, according to SP. And while there is no time limit to how long you can leave your device plugged in, they encourage users not to hog the stations.

Users can follow the on-screen instructions displayed in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

They must scan the barcode of a personal identification card such as an NRIC, driving licence, student pass or senior citizen concession card, and create a four-digit personal identification number before plugging in their device.

They can then leave their device to charge, and use the same two-step authentication process to retrieve it later on.

Speaking at the "Gift of Power" launch at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) yesterday, SP Group chief executive officer Wong Kim Yin said the scheme is aimed at alleviating the stress of modern life by helping Singaporeans stay connected.

"Running out of power can be distressing. This allows us to get a power boost on the go while attending to other daily tasks," Mr Wong said.

Eight charging stations are already up and running. Three are at SGH - two at the Academia building and one at the Singapore National Eye Centre - and five are at NTUC FairPrice supermarkets in Hougang Street 21, Ang Mo Kio Hub, Thomson Plaza, nex mall and The Woodgrove.

Ms Sarah Low, 25, a student at Nanyang Technological University, used the charging station at the eye centre to power up her phone while waiting for a check-up yesterday. She said: "It is very convenient, especially when you have to wait for long periods of time. I can put my handphone in the locker and it is very safe," she said.

•For an up-to-date list of charging station sites, visit http://giftofpower.singaporepower.com.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 28, 2015, with the headline 'Charge phone free at 200 stations'. Print Edition | Subscribe