Gas, electricity usage rise as more people spend time at home
Minister explains latest increase in tariffs is linked to global fuel prices
Singapore households used on average more electricity and gas each month between April and July, compared with the same period last year.
Their electricity consumption rose 16 per cent while that of gas went up 34 per cent, as people spent more time at home during the circuit breaker and the early stages of Singapore's phased reopening amid the pandemic, said Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng yesterday.
He was responding in Parliament to Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Bukit Panjang) who asked whether electricity and gas consumption had risen as more people worked from home.
Mr Liang also asked for the basis of the latest increase in electricity and gas tariffs.
Dr Tan said both prices generally move in tandem with global fuel prices and have averaged around 24.58 cents/kWh for electricity and 19.64 cents/kWh for gas since January 2018.
He added that fuel prices rose by 46.6 per cent in the third quarter of this year, since dropping to their lowest levels in the past 20 years in April, as global economic activity gradually resumed.
As a result, electricity and gas tariffs rose to 22.93 cents/kWh and 18.39 cents/kWh respectively in the fourth quarter of this year.
Dr Tan, however, emphasised that electricity and gas tariffs in the third and fourth quarters remain lower than in the first quarter.
"For electricity tariffs in particular, it is worth pointing out that the Q4 2020 tariffs still remain at 11.6 per cent lower than Q1 2020, and 6.7 per cent lower than the average electricity tariff between January 2018 and September 2020," he said.
He added that around 47 per cent of all households will not be affected by the new prices as they have switched to the Open Electricity Market, where it is in the interest of consumers to switch to fixed-price package plans.
"If it is possible, most households should look at these plans that are available... because I think in the ensuing quarters ahead, there should continue to be all this volatility and fluctuations. We expect more of it to happen," Dr Tan said.
Dr Tan said the country is aiming for a fivefold increase in its solar power capacity from around 0.4 gigawatt-peak (GWp) today to at least 2 GWp by 2030.
He further said that Singaporean homes have been given more support for their utility bills this year.
For instance, every household with at least one Singapore citizen has received a one-off $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit in their July or August SP Group utility bill.
Dr Tan added that eligible Housing Board households also received the GST Voucher - USave, which was doubled this year through a one-off GST Voucher - USave Special Payment.
Eligible HDB households with five or more members also received a first portion of further GST Voucher - U-Save rebates of between $60 and $100 per household this month, with a second portion to be disbursed in January.