HDB blocks upgraded as energy consumption rises

SINGAPORE - Electricity consumption in homes has gone up, and Housing Board flats are being upgraded to cater to it, said Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wan on Monday.

Nearly 2,400 blocks have been upgraded since 1995 to support the higher electricity consumption of modern lifestyles, he said in a blog post, with another 4,000 "in due course".

Mr Khaw said HDB blocks built before 1990 were provided with main switches of 30 amps. Newer blocks have main switches of 40 amps as residents are drawing on more power now.

Older blocks are being upgraded with higher electrical loading to minimise power trips, he said.

The upgrading has cost nearly $1 billion so far. "The works are extensive and involve building new infrastructure such as electrical substations and laying higher-capacity underground cables," Mr Khaw said.

Ms Shirley Chua, communications and outreach director at the Singapore Environment Council, said overall electricity demand has risen more than the savings from the use of energy-efficient appliances.

Multiple air-conditioning units, larger refrigerators and wireless routers running continuously are widely used and all incur higher electricity demand.

Reducing the consumption of energy "means educating the public to adopt energy-efficient practices instead of purchasing energy-efficient appliances", said Ms Chua.

According to the Energy Efficiency Programme Office website, run by various government agencies, the top three energy-sapping appliances are air-cons, water heaters and refrigerators or freezers. Together, they make up over three quarters of household consumption.

joseow@sph.com.sg


Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.

VIDEOS TO WATCH

SERVICES