The cost of living is going up and the proof is none other than our dear utilities. With the latest Budget 2017, Singaporeans were in for a shocker. Water, which hasn’t seen a price rise in over two decades, is set to increase and by no small means either. The intended price rise will make water almost 30% more expensive and is set to be implemented in phases over the next two years.
Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat has said that this rise in water prices in the budget for 2017 was the result of necessity and was brought about due to the rising cost involved in supplying water to Singapore. Singapore’s water supply depends heavily on weather conditions be it for local catchments or imported supply of water.
The increase in prices for this year’s budget will be done by combining the Sanitary Appliance fee and the waterborne fee. The new fee will be a volume based one. Households that use up to 40 cubic metres of water will have to pay an increased waterborne fee of 92 cents per cubic metre. Households exceeding 40 cubic metres of water will have to pay S$1.12 per cubic metre. With the new changes aimed at discouraging those who use water excessively, the rise in prices will be almost 30%.
With PUB’s price hike, households will see an average jump of S$18 per month in utility bills whereas 75% of all businesses will see an S$25 jump in their monthly utility bills. The rise in prices was brought about due to unavoidable circumstances but we can still make sure our monthly bills don’t shoot up too high by implementing the following steps.
Cutting down on utilities
1. Audits: We’ll first start with reviewing and monitoring the water bill. If you think that your water bills are too high then do a quick audit. An audit can be done by you. Simply check the meter reading before you decide to implement a few water saving techniques and check the metre reading once you’re done.
2. Keep it simple: Water saving techniques may sound like something you heard back in primary school and in PUB’s campaigns, but the reality is that there is no fancy way of putting it. The lesser you use, the lesser you pay. You can try taking shorter showers, keeping the shower to less than 5 minutes, and turning the shower off while applying soap or shampoo.
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3. Keep a filled sink: Shaving, washing your face, washing vegetables, and anything that needs you to be in front of a sink should be done with a filled sink rather than a running tap. We don’t realise how much we waste when the tap is running.
4. Leaks: Those tiny drops going by from our kitchen sink or our washroom can add up. Imagine a drop every two seconds, down the drain. That is a lot of water literally going down the drain. Fix leaks as soon as possible. Check leaky water closets, as those can also cause a lot of water to be wasted.
5. Washing machines: Do your laundry in the washing machine only on a full load. If you can reuse the water from the rinse cycles, then do so for non-potable uses such as mopping the floor or heck, even washing your car.
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6. Install thimbles: Begin using water efficient taps and thimbles. This water saving kit can reduce water usage by almost 5% and is part of the water efficient homes programme initiated by the PUB.
7. Air Conditioners: Air conditioners need to be cleaned regularly. No, we’re not just dusting the unit inside the home but cleaning out the filters of the conditioners. If these filters get clogged with dirt, which they will, it takes more energy for the air conditioner to effectively cool a room. Find savings in other areas of your house to further offset the hikes in your water bills.
8. Alternate technology: Technology often leaves us with fancier versions of appliances that we don’t really need. Water that would take far less energy to boil in a kettle over a stove is now being boiled in an electric one.
Thermo pots that consistently re-boil your water to keep it hot tend to use a lot of electricity. Use the energy saving function to make sure it doesn’t reboil when you’re asleep or at work.
Clothes dryers have a tremendous impact on your energy consumption which can completely be avoided if you hang your clothes out to dry.
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9. The smaller expenses matter: The smaller expenses in your house are what add up to your utility bills. When was the last time you used a landline at home? See if you really want that cable subscription. A lot of streaming facilities such as HBO, Netflix, and Amazon Prime offer us access to the latest content at almost half the price. Always be on the lookout for newer broadband subscriptions. These providers come out with new plans at faster speeds or better rates.
How will you be combating the price in water prices? Let us know your strategies in the comments!
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