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Couple in 4-room HDB shocked after being hit with more than $1K electricity bill

The Independent logo The Independent 27/1/2021 Obbana Rajah
a sign on the side of a building © The Independent Singapore

Disclaimer: Microsoft News is currently reviewing the accuracy of this story with the publisher due to social media source. Updates will be published here if needed.

After receiving an electricity and gas bill for more than S$1,000, a couple took to social media to ask others for advice on what to do.

The netizen, who wished to be anonymous, rented a 4-room flat from the Housing Development Board (HDB) itself while awaiting the completion of their Build-To-Order flat.

According to a copy of the bill he shared to a public Facebook page on Tuesday (Jan 26), he was charged S$1,184.66, which was to be paid by Feb 8, 2021.

In speaking to TISG, the 34-year-old said that his reaction upon receiving the bill was: “Shock. Disbelief. Like, I had to give it a second look”.

Having stayed in the flat with his wife for the past 4-and-a-half years, he added that the bill had been fairly consistent, between S$100 – S$120, with some months’ bill being as low as about S$80.

He said that when he called SPgroup, he was told that the meter reading was done in January and accounted for 10 months since the last meter reading, in March 2020.

graphical user interface, diagram © The Independent Singapore

The man added that the contact whom he spoke to at SPgroup asked him to try to take a meter reading by himself, but he added that this was “not possible, because the flat we live in is actually a rental from HDB…it’s a really old flat and is not like the conventional HDB where the meter is just outside the house. The meter is actually behind an opaque box in a slot, so you can’t actually go and see”.

He added that it was also “not right to suddenly give a person a bill for S$1000 plus” when the meter reading was not correct.

Many of the commenters online told the man not to pay the bill until the issue was resolved. When asked what he thought about that, he added that once the full amount was paid, in the case of a discrepancy it would be unlikely that a refund would be given, so he felt the netizens were probably just being cautious.

graphical user interface, text © The Independent Singapore

He also asked if SPgroup thought it was “okay to lump 10month’s worth of electricity usage into one bill and expect the home owner (sic) to pay?”

He also suggested that SPgroup review their processes.

From the copy of his bill, the electricity usage in his house was barely a fraction of the usage for the estimated amount in January. The usage for his house was about 210kWh for the months of August 2020 to November 2020, with it being slightly higher in December 2020 at 686kWh. However, the estimate for January 2021 was much higher, at 5029kWh.

His water bill came up to S$12.04 for that month. /TISG

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