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Electricity Charges Subsidy Scheme & Electricity Charges Relief Scheme

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Electricity Charges Subsidy Scheme & Electricity Charges Relief Scheme

Electricity Charges Subsidy Scheme for Non-residential Customers

Faced with an extremely challenging economic environment, the Government announced on 4 December 2019 the provision of electricity charges subsidy ("the subsidy") to each eligible non-residential electricity accounts for 4 months, so as to ease the operating pressure and financial burden of small and medium enterprises. Recognising that the coronavirus epidemic has a severe impact on the economy, the Government has decided to extend the subsidy period to 8 months.

Starting from March 2020, the Government provides the subsidy to all non-residential electricity accounts registered and effective as at 4 December 2019, to cover 75% of their billed electricity charges based on their electricity consumption, subject to a cap of $5,000 per month.

For more details about the Electricity Charges Subsidy Scheme for Non-residential Customers, please refer to the Environment Bureau website.

Example


If no government subsidy is provided, Company A will be billed $6,000 and $6,500 in March and April 2020 respectively. The consumption periods for its bills in March and April 2020 are 20 February 2020 – 20 March 2020 (30 days) and 21 March 2020 – 20 April 2020 (31 days) respectively. Taking into account the subsidy, the following information will be shown on Company A's electricity bills:

Bill for March

$

Billed electricity charge based on electricity consumption#

6,000

Government Subsidy*

-3,000

Amount due

3,000

* The 75% subsidy will be provided from the effective date of the Scheme (i.e. starting from 1 March).

Bill for April

$

Billed electricity charge based on electricity consumption#

6,500

Government Subsidy

-4,875

Amount due

1,625

# Grace period for the tariff increase for the relevant non-residential customers, as well as the special rebates, have been taken into account. Feed-in Tariff and receivable from sales of Renewable Energy Certificates are not taken into account.

Reference Questions and Answers

Q

Which electricity accounts are eligible for the subsidy?

A

Non-residential electricity accounts registered and effective as at 4 December 2019 (i.e. the day the Financial Secretary announced the measure) are eligible for the subsidy, so long as the registration remains effective during the subsidy period. There is no need to apply for the subsidy.

One point to note: "Non-residential electricity account" refers to the tariff type, i.e. accounts to which "non-residential tariff" applies. Non-residential accounts with high energy consumption which pay "maximum demand tariff" do not belong to this tariff type and hence will not benefit from the scheme.

Q

How will the subsidy be granted? Can it be paid in cash?

A

The subsidy will directly offset the electricity charges payable on the customer's bill, and cannot be paid in cash.

Q

If the electricity account is for a leased unit, who (the tenant or the landlord) will receive the subsidy?

A

The subsidy will directly offset the electricity charges payable on the customer's bill. As to how tenants who do not have their own electricity account can benefit, it depends on the agreement between them and the landlord.

Q

If the customer's registration is cancelled during the month, will the subsidy for that month be provided on a pro-rata basis?

A

If, for reasons such as relocation, closure of business or change of account ownership, an eligible account is terminated during the scheme period, even if the last bill covers less than a full month, the account can still get the subsidy in proportion to the number of eligible days.

Q

Can the subsidy be used for paying deposits or other charges?

A

The subsidy can only be used for paying electricity charges. It cannot be used for paying deposits or other charges.

Q

If the subsidy for the current month does not reach the cap, can the balance be carried forward to the next bill?

A

The subsidy is not a fixed amount. It is a subsidy to cover 75% of customers' billed electricity charges (Cap amount will be calculated according to number of days involved), hence there is no "balance" to be carried forward.

Q

If the electricity bill only needs to pay the minimum charge, will it get the subsidy?

A

Yes. Those bills with minimum charge payable are also eligible for the subsidy.


Electricity Charges Subsidy Scheme for Residential Customers

The Government announced in 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2013 the provision of a maximum total subsidy of $9,000 to each eligible residential electricity account ("the existing subsidy schemes"). The sum was fully credited to relevant accounts from September 2008 to August 2009 and from July 2011 to June 2014.

In August 2019, the Government announced that a one-off electricity charges subsidy of $2,000 would be provided to each eligible residential electricity account ("the new subsidy scheme") having regard to the challenging external and local economic environment. Starting from 1 January 2020, a one-off electricity charges subsidy of $160 will be credited to each residential tariff electricity account on the first day of each month for 11 consecutive months and $240 in the 12th month, making up a total of $2,000.

The subsidy can only be used for paying electricity charges. Any unused subsidy can be carried forward to pay billed electricity charges under the same account until 31 December 2022 or the close of the account (whichever is earlier).

Unused credits under the existing subsidy schemes and credits under the Electricity Charges Relief Scheme implemented by the Environment Bureau will be utilised first in offsetting billed electricity charges. Credits from the new subsidy scheme will only be utilised after the unused credits under the existing subsidy schemes and the Electricity Charges Relief Scheme are exhausted or expired.

For more details about the Electricity Charges Subsidy Scheme, please refer to the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau website.

Example


If there is no electricity charges subsidy and relief provided by the Government, Mr A will be billed $400 and $120 in January and February 2020 respectively. After the credit, the following information will be shown on his electricity bills:

Bill for January

$

Charge for electricity consumed

400

Government Electricity Charges Relief Scheme

-50

Government Electricity Charges Subsidy

-160

Amount Due

190

Government Electricity Charges Relief Scheme Balance $0
Government Electricity Charges Subsidy Balance $0

Bill for February

$

Charge for electricity consumed

120

Government Electricity Charges Relief Scheme

-50

Government Electricity Charges Subsidy

-70

Amount Due

0

Government Electricity Charges Relief Scheme Balance $0
Government Electricity Charges Subsidy Balance $90

Reference Questions and Answers

Q

Who will be eligible for the electricity charges subsidy?

A

In general, registered residential electricity accounts are eligible for the electricity charges subsidy.

Q

How will the electricity charges subsidy under the new subsidy scheme be granted?

A

Commencing on 1 January 2020, the Government will credit $160 to each residential electricity account with the electricity companies in existence on the first day of each month for 11 consecutive months and $240 in the 12th month, making up a total of $2,000.

Q

Will accounts with unused credits under the existing subsidy schemes be granted electricity charges subsidy under the new subsidy scheme?

A

All residential electricity accounts, including accounts with unused credits under the existing subsidy schemes, can benefit from the new subsidy scheme. Unused credits under the existing subsidy schemes and under the Electricity Charges Relief Scheme will be utilised first in offsetting billed charges. Credits from the new subsidy scheme will only be utilised after the unused credits under the existing subsidy schemes and the Electricity Charges Relief Scheme are exhausted or expired, until 31 December 2022, or the close of the account, whichever is earlier.

Q

Will tenants of service apartments be eligible for the electricity charges subsidy?

A

The mode of collecting electricity charges varies in different service apartments. While electricity charges are covered by the rental for some service apartments, some tenants are required to pay the charges to the landlords (instead of the electricity companies). As to whether the tenant of a service apartment is eligible for the electricity charges subsidy, it will be subject to factors such as having a "separate electricity meter of an electricity company" installed in that apartment, holding a residential electricity account for the power supply, as well as the agreement between the tenant and the landlord.

Q

If the electricity account relates to a leased unit, who (the tenant or the landlord) will receive the electricity charges subsidy?

A

The electricity charges subsidy will reduce the amount of electricity charges demanded in the electricity bills. As to who will be enjoying the electricity charges subsidy, this depends on the agreement between the tenant and the landlord. Generally speaking, if the tenant of the leased unit is the holder of such an electricity account, he/she only needs to pay the adjusted amount shown on the bill. If the account is registered in the name of the landlord but the tenant is required to pay the amounts as shown on the electricity company's bills under the agreement, he/she can enjoy the electricity charges subsidy in the same way.

Q

Will tenants living in bedspace apartments and cubicles (subdivided units) be eligible for the electricity charges subsidy?

A

The electricity charges subsidy will reduce the amount of electricity charges demanded in the electricity bills. As to who will be enjoying the electricity charges subsidy, this depends on the agreement between the tenant and the landlord.

Q

Will the electricity charges subsidy cover vacant flats with registered meters?

A

In general, properties identified as new residential flats still owned by developers will not be granted the electricity charges subsidy. The electricity charges subsidy will cover other vacant flats.

Q

If a customer closes his account before 31 December 2020 due to removal or other reasons, can the unused portion of the credited electricity charges subsidy under the account be transferred to another account or converted to cash?

A

On account close, the unused portion of the credited electricity charges subsidy cannot be used further nor converted to cash.

Q

If there is a change in the registered account holder in the middle of the month during the period of crediting the electricity charges subsidy, will the electricity charges subsidy be credited to the new and old accounts on a pro-rata basis?

A

No, the registered account holder as at the first day of the month will be entitled to the full credit.

Q

If a customer closes an account on the first day of a month and another opens a new one on the same day for the same meter, which account will be given the electricity charges subsidy?

A

The new account will be given the electricity charges subsidy.

Q

During the credit period of electricity charges subsidy, will new registered accounts be entitled to the credit for the month immediately?

A

If the new account exists on the first day of the month, it will be credited the electricity charges subsidy amount for the same month. If the account comes into existence on the second day or following days of the month, the account will be credited the electricity charges subsidy from the next month. Accounts opened after the last credit day (i.e. 1 December 2020) will not be entitled to any credit of electricity charges subsidy.

Q

Will the electricity charges subsidy be granted in the form of cash?

A

No.

Q

Can the electricity charges subsidy be used for paying deposits?

A

The electricity charges subsidy can only be used for paying electricity charges. It cannot be used for paying deposits.

Q

What is the validity period of the unused electricity charges subsidy?

A

Unused electricity charges subsidy can be carried forward to offset electricity bill for the same electricity account until 31 December 2022, or the close of the account, whichever is earlier.


Electricity Charges Relief Scheme for Residential Customers

The Government will grant each eligible residential electricity account a maximum electricity charges relief of $3,000 over 60 months (i.e. $50 per month), commencing from January 2019. The relief can only be used for paying electricity charges. Any unused relief can be carried forward to pay billed electricity charges under the same account until 31 December 2023 or the close of the account (whichever is earlier).

For those eligible residential electricity accounts with unused subsidy that has been credited to the electricity account under the Electricity Charges Subsidy Scheme, the unused subsidy will be utilised first. Relief amount credited to the account will be utilised after the unused subsidy is exhausted or expired.

For more details about the Electricity Charges Relief Scheme, please refer to the Environment Bureau website.

Example

If there is no Government relief provided, Mr A will be billed $40 and $70 in January and February 2019 respectively. After the credit, the following information will be shown on his electricity bills:

Bill for January

$

Charge for electricity consumed

40

Government relief credited

40

Amount due

0

Government relief carried forward

10

Bill for February

$

Charge for electricity consumed

70

Government relief credited

60

Amount due

10

Government relief carried forward

0

Reference Questions and Answers

Q

Who will be eligible for the electricity charges relief?

A

In general, registered residential electricity accounts are eligible for the relief.

Q

How will the electricity charges relief be granted?

A

The Government will credit $50 to each eligible residential account with the power companies in existence on the first day of each month for 60 consecutive months, commencing from 1 January 2019. For each calendar month, only one residential account holder can get the relief in respect of a residential address.

Q

Will accounts with unused subsidy previously provided by the Government be granted the electricity charges relief starting from January 2019?

A

All residential electricity accounts, including accounts with unused subsidy, can benefit from the electricity charges relief scheme. Unused subsidy that has been credited to the electricity account will be utilised first. Relief amount credited to the account will be utilised after the unused subsidy is exhausted or expired.

Q

Will tenants of service apartments be eligible for the electricity charges relief?

A

The mode of collecting electricity charges varies in different service apartments. While electricity charges are covered by the rental for some service apartments, some tenants are required to pay the charges to the landlords (instead of the electricity companies). As to whether the tenant of a service apartment is eligible for the relief, it will be subject to factors such as having a "separate electricity meter of an electricity company" installed in that apartment, holding a residential electricity account for the power supply, as well as the agreement between the tenant and the landlord.

Q

If the electricity account relates to a leased unit, who (the tenant or the landlord) will receive the electricity charges relief?

A

Electricity charges relief will reduce the amount of electricity charges demanded in the electricity bills. As to who will be enjoying the relief, this depends on the agreement between the tenant and the landlord. Generally speaking, if the tenant of the leased unit is the holder of such an electricity account, he/she only needs to pay the adjusted amount shown on the bill. If the account is registered in the name of the landlord but the tenant is required to pay the amounts as shown on the electricity company's bills under the agreement, he/she can enjoy the relief in the same way.

Q

Will tenants living in bedspace apartments and cubicles (subdivided units) be eligible for the relief?

A

Electricity charges relief will reduce the amount of electricity charges demanded in the electricity bills. As to who will be enjoying the relief, this depends on the agreement between the tenant and the landlord.

Q

Will the electricity charges relief cover vacant flats with registered meters?

A

In general, properties identified as new residential flats still owned by property developers will not be granted the electricity charges relief. The relief will cover other vacant flats.

Q

If a customer closes his account before 31 December 2023 due to removal or other reasons, can the unused portion of the credited relief under the account be transferred to another account or converted to cash?

A

On account close, the unused portion of the credited relief cannot be used further nor converted to cash.

Q

If there is a change in the registered account holder in the middle of the month during the period of crediting the electricity charges relief, will the relief be credited to the new and old accounts on a pro-rata basis?

A

No, the registered account holder as at the first day of the month will be entitled to the full $50 credit.

Q

If a customer closes an account on the first day of a month and another opens a new one on the same day for the same meter, which account will be given the electricity charges relief?

A

The new account will be given the relief.

Q

During the credit period of electricity charges relief, will new registered accounts be entitled to the credit for the month immediately?

A

If the new account exists on the first day of the month, it will be credited the relief amount for the same month. If the account comes into existence on the second day or following days of the month, the account will be credited the relief from the next month. Accounts opened after the last credit day (i.e. after 1 December 2023) will not be entitled to any credit of relief.

Q

Will the electricity charges relief be granted in the form of cash?

A

No.

Q

Can the electricity charges relief be used for paying deposits?

A

The electricity charges relief can only be used for paying electricity charges. It cannot be used for paying deposits or other charges.

Q

What is the validity period of the unused electricity charges relief?

A

Unused relief can be utilised to offset electricity bill for the same electricity account until 31 December 2023.

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