Waive S&CC hike for needy

SINGAPORE - The decision to raise service and conservancy charges (S&CC) will affect elderly retirees and low-income people the most ("Eight town councils raise service, conservancy charges"; Feb 28).

The Government should consider waiving the S&CC increases for these groups.

As electricity tariffs are the main reason for the increase, it is time for the Energy Market Authority to open up the market to electricity providers. Town councils can then invite tender applications for the supply of electricity instead of relying on one provider.

There are other ways to cut costs and avoid S&CC increases.

Town council newsletters and publications can be printed in black and white instead of colour and do away with the expensive desk calendars for residents.

It is a waste to switch on all the lights at walkways, void decks, fitness corners and carparks when using every other light is enough. To reduce lift maintenance costs, lifts can be programmed to "hibernate" from midnight to 5am unless activated by users.

To discourage water wastage, the town councils should increase the water dispensing charge at carparks to 50 cents from 20 cents. They should work with PUB to install Newater pipes for use in general cleaning and at carparks. Also, tweak the grass-cutting schedule to increase the intervals between.

The S&CC increase does not seem justified when town council report cards in 2012 showed that eight out of 15 failed to score the green mark for maintenance.

The eight included Marine Parade and Pasir Ris-Punggol, which are among the town councils that announced the recent increase.

Francis Cheng

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