Hong Kong’s CLP Power to offer HK$100 vouchers to those hit by outage

CLP Power says vouchers, to be disbursed in September, are ‘to show care and express gratitude for the affected customers’ understanding’.

Hong Kong electricity supplier CLP Power plans to offer vouchers of HK$100 (US$12.70) to residents in Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun as compensation for being affected by the city’s worst power outage in decades.

The power company said it would allocate HK$20 million worth of vouchers in total “to show care and express gratitude for the affected customers’ understanding”.

The vouchers are set to be disbursed in September and can only be used at designated shops in the three districts.

The move comes after a fire involving high-voltage electric cables in Yuen Long on June 21 led to the city’s worst outage in decades. A bridge that carried the three high-voltage cables collapsed in the fire, while residential buildings, hospitals and railway services across the western New Territories were left without power.

About 140,000 affected households had their power gradually restored within hours of the outage that night, but 20,000 households in Tin Shui Wai were forced to remain in the dark until the next morning before CLP Power completed their repair work.

The compensation amount, however, has been slammed by a lawmaker as inadequate.

“Even though specific details of the scheme have not been revealed, it is clear that this is insufficient to reimburse the costs borne by residents. CLP Power should directly reduce residents’ electricity bills,” said Edward Lau Kwok-fun, a legislator for New Territories North.

A bridge in Yuen Long carrying three high-voltage cables caught fire on June 21, leaving residential buildings, hospitals and railway services across the western New Territories without power.

He added that affected residents told him they have had home appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators damaged by the outage. Others who could not return home owing to the blackout also had to bear costs such as putting up in a hotel for the night.

“On the other hand, the reason for the electric cable fire has yet to be discovered. This cannot be left unattended to avoid similar incidents from happening in the future,” Lau said.

He urged relevant authorities to boost backup electricity systems, expanding from supplying emergency power for lifts to telephone networks and water pumps for residential buildings.

Lau called for either more vouchers to be disbursed, or for CLP Power to provide direct electricity bill subsidies to fully compensate for residents’ losses from the blackout and its repercussions.

In response to the lawmaker’s inquiries, CLP Power said the company had submitted reports to the government on June 24 and July 6, but had not managed to identify the cause of the fire.