$300 vouchers for HDB households to buy green products, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

$300 vouchers for HDB households to buy green products

From April 15, HDB households will receive $300 worth of e-vouchers that can be used to buy 10 types of energy- and water-saving appliances and fittings, such as air-conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators.

The distribution of these e-vouchers – valid until Dec 31, 2027 – is an expansion of the existing Climate Friendly Households Programme rolled out in November 2020.

The expansion was announced on March 4 by Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Amy Khor during the debate on her ministry’s budget.

Currently, only one- to three-room Housing Board flats are eligible for $225 worth of vouchers, which can be used for three types of products. The voucher amount is also fixed for each category – a $150 voucher for energy-saving refrigerators, a $25 voucher for LED lights and a $50 voucher for water-saving shower fittings.

But with the expansion of the programme, $300 in vouchers will be available to the 1.1 million HDB households currently, as well as new flat owners who receive their keys by 2027. The vouchers will be in denominations of $2, $5, $10 and $50, and there will be no restrictions on the amount usable for any appliance.

The initial tranche of vouchers will expire on March 20, before the new set of vouchers is disbursed. Households that have already tapped the first set of vouchers can still use the new ones.

Dr Khor noted that the 10 types of products under the expanded programme contribute to around 60 per cent of an average household’s electricity consumption, and around 90 per cent of water consumption.

She said: “We will enhance support for households wishing to be more energy- and water-efficient, which will also help lower their utility bills.

“With these enhancements, we hope to incentivise more households to choose resource-efficient options from the outset, or when their appliances and fittings are due for replacement.”

The expansion of the Climate Friendly Households Programme comes after reports about the scheme’s low take-up rate.

There are about 300,000 households living in one- to three-room flats, which means that 900,000 e-vouchers can be redeemed in total under the current programme. In July 2022, The Straits Times reported that only about 23,000 vouchers had been redeemed by May that year.

The programme was initially supposed to be valid till Dec 31, 2023, but was extended for three more months until March 20 to give more time for households to redeem and use the $225 vouchers.

Giving an update on the vouchers redeemed so far, Dr Khor said more than 141,000 households have registered for the vouchers, and about 54,000 vouchers had been used by January 2024.

The National Environment Agency said 25,500 of the vouchers were for refrigerators, 16,600 for LED lights, and 11,500 for shower fittings.

Energy-saving appliances tend to be more costly compared with ordinary ones, but they can translate to lower utility bills. The expansion of the Climate Friendly Households Programme comes amid higher gas and electricity prices and an upcoming water price hike from April.

For example, households that switch from a one-tick air-conditioner to a more energy-efficient five-tick one can reap annual electricity bill savings of $450.

Switching to energy-efficient appliances is also good for the planet because they require less electricity, which results in reduced emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for power generation.

From April 15, HDB residents can claim their vouchers by logging on to RedeemSG (go.gov.sg/cv-claim) using their Singpass account. They can then present the voucher at any of the 14 participating retailers along with their NRIC, bank statements or utility bills.

The 14 retailers include Courts, Best Denki, FairPrice, Giant and Cold Storage.