SINGAPORE - The town councils have been working with the grassroots organisations to identify and provide assistance to needy households ("Waive S&CC hike for needy"; last Friday).
There are various assistance schemes in place, such as ComCare, as well as other community welfare funds that can be tapped to help the needy. The town councils also offer instalment plans for those who face difficulties in keeping up with their service and conservancy charges (S&CC) payments.
In the recently announced Budget, the Government has also announced S&CC rebates of three months for one- and two-room flats, and two months for three- and four-room flats. We hope that the rebates will help to lessen the impact of the S&CC revision for the needy.
We agree with the writer's suggestion to seek alternative electricity options in the open market. We have appointed an electricity retailer that has offered us the best discount from the existing tariffs, which will help to bring savings to residents. To help further reduce our utilities bills, the town councils are also working with the Housing Board to install solar energy panels on rooftops as an alternative energy source.
The town councils have implemented various cost-cutting measures through the years. One such initiative is the switch to LED lighting, which saves the town councils millions of dollars. The implementation of Phase 1, which took place from 2011 to 2012, saw 1,800 residential blocks fitted with the new energy-saving lighting. We are now in the second phase of the exercise, which covers a further 3,100 blocks and is scheduled to be completed by next year.
Other cost-cutting measures include the re-use of roof slabs for re-roofing works; the practice has saved $2.1 million at Jurong Town Council alone. The switch to simplified lift position display panels also realises significant savings, for example, at Sembawang Town Council, which has saved $7 million from sinking fund expenditures over three years.
The town councils are mindful of the need to control costs on behalf of our residents, and will continue to explore ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. We thank the writer, Mr Francis Cheng, for his many suggestions and we will certainly study them to see how we can incorporate them into our operations.
Soon Min Sin, General Manager, Sembawang Town Council
On behalf of the eight town councils involved in S&CC revision
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