Households can expect electricity bill to go up as more work from home during Covid-19 outbreak

Ms Nursharini Arifin, who started working from home in late March, saw a $30 increase in the latest electricity bill. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MS NURSHARINI ARIFIN

SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - Singaporeans may see higher electricity bills at the end of this month, say energy experts.

Mr James Chong, vice-president of corporate sales and new energy solutions at Senoko Energy, said it may be too early to see a definitive impact of Covid-19 on residential electricity consumption as the work-from-home arrangements became more widespread only in late-March.

But Mr Chong said electricity consumption would go up in the coming months as more Singaporeans stay indoors amid circuit breaker measures.

A spokesman for solar energy company Sunseap said it saw a 5 per cent increase in electricity consumption among households between February and March, and said this would go up further in the coming months.

Ms Nursharini Arifin, 31, said the bill this month for her four-room flat was $160, a $30 increase from the usual sum.

The civil servant and mother of three boys aged one to five, whose husband is also working from home, said the air-conditioner has been turned on during the day since she started working from home last month.

She added: "I have to work while tending to my kids and I leave my laptop plugged in, in case it dies halfway."

Dr Lieu Chee Fui, programme chair of the diploma in green building energy management at Republic Polytechnic, said households like Ms Nursharini's can slash costs by up to $270 a year by switching to a five-tick energy efficient rated air-conditioner.

Dr Kwan Kian Hoong, head of the Clean Energy Research Centre at Temasek Polytechnic, said more Singaporeans will rely on air-conditioners or other cooling appliances at home as temperatures here rise in the coming months.

He said: "If a household uses an extra six hours in the daytime during the weekdays, the overall increase can be around 20 per cent a month."

Mr Yeo Leng Chye, 61, managing director of home appliance firm Yeobuild, said homes that face direct sunlight can use sun-blocking window films, which can absorb up to 30 per cent of heat.

Installing double-layered curtains to block out daytime heat and sunlight, and switching all lights at home to LEDs can also halve the electricity consumption, he said.

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