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Light-Bulb Moment: How To Lower Your Utility Bills As Carbon Taxes Increase

Anticipate a shift in our monthly utility bills as Singapore gears up for a surge in carbon taxes starting 2024.

According to a report in The Straits Times, projections from the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) suggest that for a four-room Housing Board flat, the higher carbon tax could translate to an average increase of $4 per month in household electricity expenses, assuming the full brunt of the tax is passed on to consumers. It's worth noting that electricity retailers are yet to disclose specific details of these impending price changes.

The article also noted that the carbon tax landscape in Singapore is set for a significant transformation from 2024 to 2025, with rates skyrocketing from $5 to $25 per tonne of emissions. This hike marks a notable leap from the initial $5 per tonne established in 2019, which was intended to remain in place for five years until 2023, providing a transition period for facilities emitting a minimum of 25,000 tonnes of emissions annually.

Looking ahead, the NCCS calculates that the tax is projected to reach between $50 and $80 per tonne of emissions by 2030.

Meanwhile, to do your part to fight climate change, and in the face of rising carbon taxes, here are some ways to lower your electricity bill:

1. Change all lights to LED

LED energy-saving can actually save up to 75% of energy while lasting 25 times longer than traditional incandescent light bulbs. Yes, the bulbs are slightly more expensive to buy initially than regular light bulbs, but this minimal effort is totally worth it when you look at the savings down the road.

2. Buy energy-efficient home appliances

Likewise, changing all home appliances to more energy efficient ones is cheaper on the wallet and better on the environment too. While most people tend to make a beeline for the cheapest option available, it’s wise to invest in a better quality product, especially if it is something that you use on a daily basis like a fridge or an air-conditioner. To know which appliances consume less energy over time, look out for NEA’s (National Environment Agency) green tick system for energy-efficient appliances. The higher the number of ticks, the more energy efficient the appliance is and the more electricity you will save using it. For instance, an air conditioner with 5 ticks can save you 33% of your electricity bills as compared to one with only 3 ticks.

3. Turn off your appliances at night

If something is turned off, it means that it isn’t consuming electricity right? WRONG! Leaving anything on standby mode means that the machine or appliance is consuming energy even when not in use. To ensure minimal energy wastage, turn off the switch from the socket to which the devices are connected, especially while sleeping at night.

4. Use cold water to wash clothes

Despite popular belief that washing clothes in hot water kills bacteria, that is only true if the water is boiling hot. You’re better off giving your clothes a longer life by washing them in cold or room temperature water. Plus you’ll shave a huge chunk off your electricity bill too since cold water can save up to 90% of the energy used to operate the washing machine.

5. Position your fridge correctly

Did you know you can save money by just making sure your fridge is in the right place? Moving the fridge one inch further away from the wall can save up to 40% of the fridge’s energy use, as the coils have space to cool down properly (added bonus – you can access the condenser coils better, and wipe them clean of grime, dust and dirt so that they don’t have to work overtime to keep the fridge cool). Equally important is taking care to position the fridge in a cool area of the kitchen, away from direct sunlight, because the extra heat will make the compressor work harder. Using more electricity daily means that the fridge is likely to have a shorter lifespan too.

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