When Rates Go Up, Cut on Usage

For most people, they are affected by rates increases that have impact on their cost of living.

Chief among these is the public transport fare increases from 29 December 2018. From this date, card fares for adults travelling on buses and trains had increased by 6 cents.

The second one is the water price increases implemented in two phases on 1 July 2017 and 1 July 2018 respectively.

The third one is electricity tariff increases or decreases every quarter depending on global oil prices. The table below shows the changes by year. The electricity tariff had been going up in year 2018. In 2019, tariffs were coming down but they were still higher than in 2017.

Electricity Tariff (cents per/kWh)
Year/Qtr 2017 2018 2019
January 20.20 21.56 23.85
April 21.39 22.15 22.79
July 20.72 23.65
October 20.30 24.13

These three items are essential expenditure that affects almost everyone.

In the case of transport fare increases, our experience was that we had been topping up our fare cards more frequently than in the past. We felt the pinch when we saw the start fare per ride is now $0.83 instead of $0.77 before the increase. On a return journey, the fare has gone up by 12 cents. With more rides in a day, fare would just multiply.

As for water price increases, the increases are in table below.

Water Prices For monthly usage less and equal to 40 cu m
1.7.2017 1.7.2018
(per cu metre) Price ($) Price ($)
Water Tariff 1.19 1.21
Water Conservation Tax (% of water tariff) 0.42 0.61
Waterborne fee 0.78 0.92
Total water price 2.39 2.74

With these increases, we as a family cut down on usage of water in order to keep our total cost of water down.

Electricity usage had been most difficult to control. Our electricity usage (in kWh) had been going up in 2017 and 2018 from the previous year. With the volatile electricity tariff, we had been incurring higher electricity cost mainly due to higher electricity tariff. Our cost per kWh in 2017 was $0.206 and $0.228 in 2018. Cost per kWh had gone up by 10.7% from 2017 in 2018 (after stripping usage pattern).


We are facing increases in public transport cost, water cost and electricity cost in recent times. Because of that, we had been trying to cut back on usage. It is still expensive for us with these increases. Some items like public transport and electricity consumptions were harder to cut. However, we achieved some success with water consumption. We are not entitled to U-Save GST vouchers or public transport vouchers and therefore we bear the full brunt of price increases.

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