Household electricity consumption increased by 22% during circuit breaker period: EMA, SP Group

Household electricity consumption in Singapore typically increases between the warmer months of April and August. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Household electricity consumption jumped almost a quarter last month compared with February, according to figures from the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and national grid power operator SP Group.

There was an average increase of 22 per cent, said the agencies in a joint statement on Tuesday (June 16).

A spokesman for EMA said that 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 household electricity consumption in Singapore typically increases in the warmer months from April to August.

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

Ms Tan Wan Lin, 27, however, was one of those who said their electricity consumption for April and May was almost 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," added Ms Tan, who lives with her two siblings in a five-room flat in Bedok.

Ms Tan is a music teacher and she has been conducting lessons online.

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

The agencies warned that other households using cumulative meters 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 from 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 consumption during April and May will be reflected in June or July's bills. Hence some households could see higher bills for these months.

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

Households using cumulative meters are encouraged to submit their own meter readings so as to be billed based on their actual consumption. They can do so via various channels, such as the SP Utilities app, up to three days from the scheduled meter reading date.

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.

As part of the Fortitude Budget announced last month, each household with at least one Singaporean will also receive a one-off $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 next month or in August, and is applicable for households in all property types.

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