Hong Kong does have a surplus of one fuel source that we have not capitalised on to generate energy. It is time to kill two birds with one stone by looking at waste to energy.
First off, the Consumer Council is wrong, just plain wrong.
Yesterday, the Consumer Council released a report criticising our two power companies, HKE and CLP. They claimed there exists an electricity duopoly that is harming Hong Kong consumers. This is incorrect.
There is no duopoly. If they can’t even get their terms right, why should we trust them on anything?
There are two monopolies. If they shared a territory, there would be a duopoly. They don’t. It’s wrong. I would hope that the Consumer Council and the broader media would finally get that right. No company or resident in Hong Kong determines where to locate their company or buy a flat based on the cost of power of HKE vs. CLP. If I’m wrong and you are that person or company, please let me know. I won’t hold my breath waiting to hear from you.
Yes, they are monopolies. The Government regulates them and caps their return on capital – like no other entities in Hong Kong. Shareholders seem happy enough, but would be disappointed if they earned any less than their allowable maximum. The return on capital ensures that the firms have an incentive to give Hong Kongers what they want – nay, demand – namely the most reliable supply of electricity in the world. With more buildings over 100m taller than the next four cities combined, keeping the lifts, MTR and aircons running is not optional.
It seems tiresome to repeat, but some people haven’t figured that out. As Johnny-come-lately’s to the energy scene, perhaps the Consumer Council can be forgiven for seeming to be unaware of the demands on our power firms for energy to be 100% reliable, emission free, and dirt (not dirty) cheap. And to produce unicorns and rainbows on the side.
Tradeoffs must be made, and this is the nature of the negotiations that take place between the Government and the firms, who, it must be said, represent their shareholders, big and small.