Power talks urged soon in price outcry
Eddie LukThursday, May 10, 2012
Lawmakers have called for the mid-term review of the scheme of control agreement be advanced after CLP Power warned of a substantial rise in electricity bills.
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Gary Chan Hak-kan said yesterday the review should cover both CLP and Hongkong Electric.
It should study the possibility of lowering the utilities’ permitted rate of return and opening the market to other suppliers.
Twenty DAB members staged a rally outside CLP headquarters on Argyle Street in Mong Kok against the company’s move to raise tariffs substantially in the next four years.
“I am outraged and deeply disappointed that CLP management have threatened and intimidated citizens by saying that they plan to raise tariffs sharply," Chan said.
“The government should negotiate next year’s tariff increase with the two power companies as soon as possible."
Starry Lee Wai-king said Chief Executive-elect Leung Chun-ying should order his Cabinet to start the review of the agreement with the firms when he takes office on July 1.
Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Pan Pey-chyou said the government should adjust the suppliers’ permitted rate of return from 9.99percent to around 4 to 5percent.
Meanwhile, Energy Advisory Committee member Ronnie Hui Ka-wah said the government should open up the electricity market in an attempt to lower tariffs.
But Hui expects it might take at least five years to allow other suppliers to use the power companies’ network.
In another protest outside CLP headquarters, about a dozen New Territories Association of Societies members criticized CLP for shrugging off its social responsibility.
On Tuesday, CLP chairman Michael Kadoorie warned the public should brace for higher power bills as the cost of natural gas is forecast to triple.
Kadoorie said the government clean energy drive will force his company to double the volume of natural gas it uses.
He expects fuel costs to increase by around 250percent by 2015, equivalent to a 40percent increase in overall costs to consumers.