The government should take precautions as electricity tariff is poised to skyrocket
The two power companies have just announced their tariff adjustments for the coming year. While CLP Power will raise its tariffs by 3.9%, Hongkong Electric will freeze prices. On the surface, CLP's rate of increase seems mild, but there are ominous signs looming behind the apparently tame move. With the enforcement of new emission caps in two years’ time, the two electricity generators will have to use natural gas which is more costly. CLP has already announced in advance that it will continue to raise tariffs in the next four years. With the addition of fuel charge, the rate increased is likely to be as high as a staggering 11.8%.
The present formula of power bill calculation comprises two parts: basic electricity charge and fuel charge. International coal prices have dropped this year, operating cost has gone down, and future investment will also be reduced. These all entail lower expenditures, but CLP insists on increasing its tariffs. As a result, the lower-than-inflation hike still invites censures. A legislator hit the nail on the head by criticizing that CLP “had exerted its utmost to lift prices”.
On the pretext that it will have to use much more natural gas after two years, CLP heralds more tariff hikes in the future. In the meantime, Hongkong Electric promises to try its best to keep tariffs flat in the coming five years despite possible variations in fuel cost. Is it not strange that, under the same regulatory standards, the two power companies are polar opposites in their calculations of fuel cost? CLP reiterates that the average increase in basic electricity charge for the next five years will merely be 1.8%. But such an act of avoiding the important and dwelling on the trivial cannot gloss over the startling soar in fuel charge.
Undoubtedly, the power companies’ shift to cleaner energy source would help to improve our air quality. The public would not blindly object to a price hike if it were reasonable. The problem is, when the government's monitoring is so impotent, emission reduction is now utilized as an excuse for non-stop tariff increases. Once again, the government's attempt at cleverness has only ended up as a blunder.
hit the nail on the head 一語中的
avoid the important and 避重就輕
dwell on the trivial gloss over 掩飾