Greenpeace's Rainbow Warrior sailed to the Castle Peak Power Station in Hong Kong, China, 25th February 2011. The Warrior flew a banner, calling on China Light and Power Company to stop favouring commercial clients that are wasting electricity at bargain rates. Greenpeace is asking CLP to draw up new tariffs that are based on principles of fairness and environmental sustainability. Photo: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton
25 February 2011, Hong Kong - Today Greenpeace's flagship the Rainbow Warrior sailed to China Light & Power's Castle Peak Power Station to protest the electricity company's cozy relationship with the government and its unfair tariffs that encourage large commercial clients to waste electricity.
This morning, the Rainbow Warrior unfurled a net banner reading, "CLP: Stop Subsidizing Energy Waste," at the Castle Peak Power Station in Tuen Mun to protest the company's unfair electricity rates. Under CLP's current system, large commercial users enjoy electricity at discounts up to 60%, while their costs - up to $1 billion dollars every year - are passed onto residential and small business users. At the same time, CLP's regressive rates for large users do not motivate them to save energy: Compared with the progressive rates that residents pay, these commercial clients are wasting electricity at bargain rates. In response, CLP tried to use the cost of transmission to justify its heavily discounted rates for large users.
When Greenpeace revealed CLP's unfair electricity rates last week, the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) even went as far as to defend CLP's unjust rate system.
Additionally, in the budget proposal published on Wednesday, the government is offering electricity subsidies of $1800 for each household. Yet this subsidy will spur energy waste, according to research by Dr. William Siu-wai Chung1. He found that a similar $1800 subsidy from the government in 2008 directly led to an increase of 700 million kWh in electricity usage that year.
Greenpeace campaigner Prentice Koo criticized the partnership between government and business to promote electricity waste. "Residents and small business use less electricity, but they are forced to help pay for the cost of developing additional power plants - even though these plants are built chiefly to satisfy the demands of large commercial clients that enjoy electricity at a below basic tariff bargain. Yet the EPD even defends these unfair rates that benefit large users at the expense of the householder."
Greenpeace is requesting a direct meeting with representatives of CLP to discuss the percentage of electricity used by each customer segment and the total bills they pay. The environmental organization is also pushing for CLP to draw up new tariffs that are based on principles of fairness and environmental sustainability. Simultaneously, Greenpeace is lobbying the EPD to immediately regulate and improve information transparency for the rates and costs of Hong Kong's electricity companies. This is essential to protect the interests of residents and small businesses, and push for all of Hong Kong to save energy.
In addition, due to the overwhelming popularity of the Rainbow Warrior's open boat days on the past two weekends, this Saturday we are adding one final day for visitors. Visitors can explore the ship, listen to crewmembers' stories, and share in Greenpeace's 40 years of protecting the environment through interactive exhibits and activities.
1 Professor at the City University of Hong Kong's Department of Management Sciences Centre and Director of the Centre for Energy and Environmental Policy Research
The Rainbow Warrior's Final Open Boat:
Date: Saturday, February 26, 2011
Location: Pier 2, Central
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Greenpeace Campaigner Prentice Koo
Tel: +852 2854 8303
wkoo [at] greenpeace.org
Greenpeace Communications Officer Josephine Ng
Tel: +852 2854 8332