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Putting Money In The Bank, Trying To Deal With My Electricity Bill and Increase In Water Bill

4 min read

Singaporeans are the “complain kings” of Southeast Asia

According to a study done on online shopping aggregator, iPrice, Singaporeans are 20% more likely to complain than our Thai counterparts.

Of the many things we complain about, the frequent topics are:

  • Influx of foreigners
  • Politics
  • SMRT
  • Inconsiderate people/ drivers on the road
  • Increasing costs of living

A better illustration of the ever increasing cost of living will be this video:

The main issue with the boy in this video is that he puts all his savings into a Piggy Bank. Hence, when he was slapped with a price increase for the telescope he was aiming for, he could not afford it.

Determined not to commit the same mistake, we put money in the bank 10 years ago looking to beat any possible increment in utility bills.


Price of water in Singapore over the years

Singapore’s water price was last revised in the year 2000. That was before Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a 30% water hike in his budget speech in February 2017.

With the final change in water price kicking in on 1 July 2018, we look at the difference in water price then and now:

 Before 1 July 2017From 1 July 2017From 1 July 2018
0-40 cubic metre>40 cubic metre0-40 cubic metre>40 cubic metre0-40 cubic metre>40 cubic metre
Water price per cubic metre
(Domestic)
$2.10$2.61$2.39$3.21$2.74$3.69

source: www.pub.gov.sg

With the price in mind, we look at the average water consumption of Singaporeans to have a good analysis of the amount spent on their utility bill.

Average water consumption for Singapore households

Based on SP Group’s tabulation, here are the average monthly water consumption in term of household types.

Household TypesAverageJun 18May 18Apr 18Mar 18Feb 18Jan 18Dec 18Nov 17Oct 17Sep 17Aug 17Jul 17
HDB 1-Room8.558.98.58.47.88.38.58.58.78.88.58.79.0
HDB 2-Room11.2511.510.911.010.410.811.210.911.711.711.311.612.0
HDB 3-Room12.7013.112.612.712.112.512.612.313.113.112.512.813.0
HDB 4-Room16.1816.516.016.315.415.916.115.716.816.716.016.316.5
HDB 5-Room17.2417.617.117.516.516.917.016.718.017.817.017.317.5
HDB Executive19.3819.719.119.818.719.219.318.720.220.119.019.219.6
Apartment13.5713.913.713.813.313.413.413.213.814.013.713.213.4
Terrace25.9026.225.626.726.025.725.425.125.926.326.925.925.1
Semi-Detached30.7630.330.732.331.630.630.429.031.231.631.330.529.6
Bungalow49.4648.352.553.651.347.548.344.949.250.150.548.948.4

To summarise,

  • For HDB 1-room, the average monthly water consumption is at 8.55 cubic metres
  • For HDB 2-room, the average monthly water consumption is at 11.25 cubic metres
  • For HDB 3-room, the average monthly water consumption is at 12.70 cubic metres
  • For HDB 4-room, the average monthly water consumption is at 16.18 cubic metres
  • For HDB 5-room, the average monthly water consumption is at 17.24 cubic metres
  • For HDB Executive, the average monthly water consumption is at 19.38 cubic metres
  • For an apartment, the average monthly water consumption is at 13.57 cubic metres
  • For Terrace, the water consumption per month is at 25.90 cubic metres
  • For Semi-Detached, the average monthly water consumption is at 30.76 cubic metres
  • Lastly, for a bungalow, the average monthly water consumption is the highest at 49.46 cubic metres

How will the water price hike affect Singaporeans?

Taking GST Voucher – U-Save out of the picture, this is how the price hike will affect Singaporeans.

Household TypesAverageMonthly Water Bill before 1 July 2017Monthly Water Bill from 1 July 2017Monthly Water Bill from 1 July 2018
HDB 1-Room8.5517.9620.4323.43
HDB 2-Room11.2523.6326.8930.83
HDB 3-Room12.7026.6730.3534.80
HDB 4-Room16.1833.9838.6744.33
HDB 5-Room17.2436.2041.2047.24
HDB Executive19.3840.7046.3253.10
Apartment13.5728.5032.4337.18
Terrace25.9054.3961.9070.97
Semi-Detached30.7664.6073.5284.28
Bungalow49.46108.69125.97144.51

These are the difference in monthly water bills for both phases of water price hike.

With the percentage difference in Monthly water bills for Singaporeans (July 2017 vs before July 2017) being:

Household TypesAverageMonthly Water Bill before 1 July 2017Monthly Water Bill from 1 July 2017Percentage Difference
HDB 1-Room8.5517.9620.4313.81%
HDB 2-Room11.2523.6326.89
HDB 3-Room12.7026.6730.35
HDB 4-Room16.1833.9838.67
HDB 5-Room17.2436.2041.20
HDB Executive19.3840.7046.32
Apartment13.5728.5032.43
Terrace25.9054.3961.90
Semi-Detached30.7664.6073.52
Bungalow49.46108.69125.9715.89%

The percentage difference in monthly water bills for Singaporeans (July 2018 vs before July 2017) will be:

Household TypesAverageMonthly Water Bill before 1 July 2017Monthly Water Bill from 1 July 2018Percentage Difference
HDB 1-Room8.5517.9623.4330.48%
HDB 2-Room11.2523.6330.83
HDB 3-Room12.7026.6734.80
HDB 4-Room16.1833.9844.33
HDB 5-Room17.2436.2047.24
HDB Executive19.3840.7053.10
Apartment13.5728.5037.18
Terrace25.9054.3970.97
Semi-Detached30.7664.6084.28
Bungalow49.46108.69144.5132.95%

Price of electricity in Singapore over the years

 

Singaporeans are subjected to Electricity Tariff, which is regulated by the Energy Market Authority (EMA).

This Electricity Tariff is updated every quarter and is made up of 4 components.

  • Market Administration and Power System Operation Fee (Reviewed annually)
  • Market Support Services Fee (Reviewed annually)
  • Network Cost (Reviewed annually)
  • Energy Cost (Reviewed quarterly)

Average electricity consumption for Singapore households

The amount an average Singaporean consumes according to property type:

Property TypeAverage Electricity Consumption (kWh)
HDB 1-Room134.5
HDB 2-Room182.64
HDB 3-Room271.09
HDB 4-Room366.75
HDB 5-Room425.06
HDB Executive520.36
Apartment516.8
Terrace896.96
Semi-Detached1168.55
Bungalow2346.08

Price of electricity over the past 10 years

To simplify things a little, we look at the changes in the price of electricity using the yearly average derived from the quarterly electricity tariffs.

YearAnnual Electricity Tariffs (Low Tension Tariffs)
(cents/ kWh)
Q1Q2Q3Q4Annual
200822.623.925.130.525.5
200922.918.019.321.720.5
201022.923.624.123.323.5
201124.125.627.327.026.0
201227.628.828.127.327.9
201326.326.726.026.026.3
201425.725.725.725.325.6
201523.320.922.420.421.7
201619.517.719.319.118.9
201720.221.420.720.3020.65
201821.622.223.7-

How will the electricity tariff’s fluctuation affect Singaporeans?

Property TypeTotal Electricity Bills over 10 years2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
25.520.523.526.027.926.325.621.718.920.65
HDB 1-Room$316.98$34.17$27.47$31.49$34.84$37.39$35.24$34.30$29.08$25.33$27.67
HDB 2-Room$443.53$47.81$38.44$44.06$48.75$52.31$49.31$48.00$40.69$35.44$38.72
HDB 3-Room$636.32$68.60$55.15$63.22$69.94$75.05$70.75$68.86$58.37$50.84$55.55
HDB 4-Room$862.22$92.95$74.72$85.66$94.77$101.70$95.86$93.31$79.10$68.89$75.27
HDB 5-Room$1,002.50$108.07$86.88$99.59$110.19$118.24$111.46$108.49$91.96$80.10$87.51
HDB Executive$1,231.24$132.73$106.70$122.32$135.33$145.22$136.89$133.25$112.95$98.37$107.48
Apartment$1,246.15$134.33$107.99$123.80$136.97$146.98$138.55$134.86$114.32$99.57$108.78
Terrace$2,111.21$227.59$182.96$209.74$232.05$249.01$234.73$228.48$193.67$168.68$184.30
Semi-Detached$2,804.30$302.30$243.03$278.59$308.23$330.75$311.79$303.49$257.25$224.06$244.81
Bungalow$5,711.03$615.65$494.93$567.36$627.72$673.59$634.96$618.06$523.90$456.30$498.55

Over the course of 10 years, this is how much Singaporeans would have spent on their electricity bills:

  • For HDB 1-room household, a total of $316.98 would be spent on electricity.
  • For HDB 2-room household, a total of $443.53 would be spent on electricity.
  • For HDB 3-room household, a total of $636.32 would be spent on electricity.
  • For HDB 4-room household, a total of $862.22 would be spent on electricity.
  • For HDB 5-room household, a total of $1,002.50 would be spent on electricity.
  • For HDB Executive household, a total of $1,231.24 would be spent on electricity.
  • For an apartment household, a total of $1,246.15 would be spent on electricity.
  • For Terrace, that amount will be $2,111.21.
  • For Semi-Detached household, a total of $2,804.30 would be spent on electricity.
  • Lastly, for a bungalow household, a total of $5,711.03 would be spent on electricity.

While electricity tariff might have gone up for this quarter to 23.7 cents/kWh, it is unfair to label it as an increase in the cost of inflation as it is generally lower than numerous quarters in the past.


I put my money in the bank, hoping to beat the changes in my utility bills

Due to the difference in nature for our water and electricity bill, we will state different assumptions for both to make this a more effective article.

We will also base interest on this:

Putting my money in the bank, hoping to beat the changes in my water bills

Before we move on, let’s state a few assumptions:

  • Assuming someone predicted the water price hike 10 years ago and started saving for it.
  • He saves an initial amount of $2.10 (the price of water per cubic metre before July 2017) in the year 2008
  • There is no subsequent addition to the amount.
  • Interest rate compounded per annum.
  • U-Save is out of the picture
  • His aim is to grow $2.10 to $2.74 by the year 2018

Will he be able to beat the price hike?

Financial ProductInterest RateInitial AmountAfter 10 years
Deposits Accounts0.5%$2.10$2.21
Savings Accounts1.5%$2.44
Singapore Savings Bond2.0%$2.56
Fixed Deposits2.5%$2.69
CPF Ordinary Account2.5%$2.69
CPF Special Account4.5%$3.26
STI ETF6.0%$3.76
Active Funds8.0%$4.53

While CPF Special Account seems to be able to be the benchmark interest to do so, we know that it appears to be not very liquid. Hence, let’s move on to other options such as STI ETF and Active funds.

Putting my money in the bank, hoping to beat the changes in my electricity bills

Assumptions in a crazy world of fantasy:

  • Assuming in the next 10 years cycle, the total electricity bill will amount to the same.
  • Singaporeans are allowed to pay for electricity bills as a whole once every 10 years

Here’s how much one needs to start saving if he stays in a 3-room HDB:

Financial ProductInterest RateInitial AmountAfter 10 years
Deposits Accounts0.5%$605.36$636.32
Savings Accounts1.5%$548.30
Singapore Savings Bond2.0%$522.00
Fixed Deposits2.5%$497.09
CPF Ordinary Account2.5%$497.09
CPF Special Account4.5%$409.74
STI ETF6.0%$355.32
Active Funds8.0%$294.74

Here’s how much one needs to start saving if he stays in a Bungalow:

Financial ProductInterest RateInitial AmountAfter 10 years
Deposits Accounts0.5%$5,490.26$5,771.03
Savings Accounts1.5%$4,972.71
Singapore Savings Bond2.0%$4,734.25
Fixed Deposits2.5%$4,508.32
CPF Ordinary Account2.5%$4,508.32
CPF Special Account4.5%$3,716.13
STI ETF6.0%$3,222.51
Active Funds8.0%$2,673.10

Further Reading: GST Voucher – U-Save

In order to help cushion the price increase in our utility bills, U-Save vouchers are given to eligible households.

Each flat will receive only 1 GST Voucher – U-Save benefit.

source: www.gstvoucher.gov.sg

Eligible households will also receive an additional $20 per year from the year 2019 to the year 2021, paid out quarterly in tranches.


A National Day type of conclusion

Being a physically tiny country with limited natural resources, at times the surge in utility cost is inevitable.

While it is easy to complain, a possibly better solution will be to be forward-looking and try to prepare for any of such possible hike.

What are some of your biggest worry? Do share with us on the Seedly Community platform where our Community will gather to help you in your situation.

(Don’t worry, you can choose to remain anonymous too!)

Check out our blog for more unbiased opinions on your personal finance journey.

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