The Online Citizen

Confused over U-Save rebates?

January 03
15:49 2012

~by: Leong Sze Hian~

I refer to the report “800,000 HDB households to receive S$40m of U-Save rebates” (ChannelNews Asia, Dec 31) and the 2.3 per cent increase in the electricity tariff.

It states that “The U-Save rebates in January are the final tranche of the five years of rebates that were granted as part of the Goods and Services Tax Offset Package beginning in 2007”.

Offset GST?

I am rather confused. Since the U-Save rebates were to offset the GST increase, shouldn’t it not be considered as money which helps Singaporeans to pay electricity bills, which keeps increasing due to electricity tariff increases?

My layman understanding is that if I have to pay more for my cost of living, because of the GST increase, then rebates like U-Save may only help me to cover my overall GST increase. So, how does it really help me to pay for increasing electricity bills?

Another way of looking at it may be that since “The U-Save rebates aim to help households cope with rising costs, including increases in utilities bills due to higher electricity tariff”, how could those who decided on the 5-year U-Save rebate in 2007 know that the electricity tariff would go up so much in the next five years, such that the U-Save rebates were repeatedly over the years  described as “help households … cope with …  increases in utilities bills due to higher electricity tariff”?

I am confused. Were U-Save rebates to offset the GST increase and thus the overall increase in the cost of living, or also to help pay for increasing electricity tariffs in the future, which nobody could have known in 2007?

Declining rebates to offset permanent increase?

The U-Save rebates are also on a declining scale (see HERE). For example, 4-room households as announced in 2007, were to receive $210, $190, $170,  $130 and $90 from 2007 to 2011 (note: an additional $95 was given for 2008 due to the 50% increase in the total amount of U-Save rebates to be given out in Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 ss announced by the Prime Minister on 17 August 2008).

I am confused. Since the GST increase is permanent, why was the U-Save rebate declining on a yearly basis. Also, what happens after 2011? – no more rebates to help offset the GST increase?

What does “It said that on average, taking into account the U-Save rebates, families living in four-room and smaller flats have not seen any increase in annual payments for utilities bills since 2007” mean? – That some paid more and some paid less such that on the average there was no increase? Would it not be better to give the statistics as to how many households paid less, the same or more, and by how much more?

38% increase in electricity tariff?

By the way, the electricity tariff increased from $20.02 from January 2007, to $27.59 in January 2012 (see HERE), which is an increase of 38 per cent.

I am confused. The electricity tariff went up by 38 per cent over the five years, and yet the yearly declining U-Save rebates announced in 2007, supposedly to offset the overall cost of living due to the GST increase, were repeatedly described as “on average, taking into account the U-Save rebates, families living in four-room and smaller flats have not seen any increase in annual payments for utilities bills since 2007”?

Power profits grew 32%?

In this connection, Singapore Power’s revenue grew from $5.2 to $7.8 billion, from FY06/07 to FY10/11 (see HERE), which is an increase of 50 per cent.

For the same period, its Net profit after tax (recurring profit, excluding Exceptional & Non-recurring items) grew from $677 to $893 million, which is an increase of 32 per cent.

More electriifying questions?

When most of Singapore’s power generating companies were sold to foreign companies, was there any debate in Parliament on the sale, as I understand that such assets would typically be deemed as strategic assets in other countries?

What are the profits of the power generating companies?

Why are the sale and purchase of power agreements not made public, as they are deemed to be contracts between private entities?

According to the Energy Market Authority’s web site ( , the non-fuel cost, which reflects the cost of generating and delivering electricity to our homes, comprises the following (4 components):

  1. Power Generation CostThis covers mainly the costs of operating the power stations, such as the manpower and maintenance costs, as well as the capital costs of the stations.
  2. Grid Charge This is to recover the cost of transporting electricity through the power grid.
  3. Market Support Services (MSS) FeeThis is to recover the costs of billing and meter reading.
  4. Power System Operation and Market Administration Fees - These fees are to recover the costs of operating the power system and administering the wholesale electricity market.



  • Yamasam

    There is this saying in Hokkien – “5-cents bigger than bullock cart wheel”.

    It sure applies to any “rebates” given out by the govt. It will cover all increase in costs to citizens, including electricity tariffs, GST, transportation, etc.

    It will probably even include covering any increase in cost of casket when you die 20 years from now.

  • TY

    Give u rebate also complain…
    Give u $ also confused…

  • FanaticD

    As usual, Give you $1 take back $100.
    i rather don’t take the $1 and keep thing as it is

  • RT

    Good observation Mr Leong! Hope WP questions them in parliament and see what excuses and cock they reply.

  • Ministerial and civil pension and pay reviews

    24 mins ago
    Give u rebate also complain…
    Give u $ also confused…

    Think it is about accountability, transparency, honest and integrity. Pappies compromised all of them greatly. Trust is greatly broken

  • Redemption


    The gahmen takes our money and then gives back what supposed to be ours BUT alot lesser.

    Bloody nincompoop

  • WhyWhyWhy?

    If U-save is to offset GST increase, since GST increase is over an indefinite period, then U-save should remain constant (and not declining) for as long as the GST increase is in effect. How can it stopped after 5 year?

    In the present form, U-save should be called a “BAIT” and not REBATE.

  • I’m logic mind

    pse stop playing around words, you can argue whatever way, the final result is our government is generous & give away free money to us & without obligation from us. PERIOD!

    Try answer this question, is not difficult to answer: IF GOVERNMENT DONT GIVE ALL THE REBATES TO US, WHAT CAN SINGAPOREANS DO?

    So give you money, you complain. Dont give, you dont complain. Better dont give next time.

    I dont understand some singaporeans why their minds can become so hopeless & think without clear logic reason.

  • what logic mind

    “So give you money, you complain. Dont give, you dont complain. Better dont give next time.”

    simple. don’t take n so don’t have to pretend to give. good logic mind or not.

  • If Logic is Logic. Then which Logic is Logic?

    In the first place, why did they give us re-baits on the last GE? As you say, they don’t need to give us in the first place.

    As the writer have given the links about declining re-baits; If they are sincere in helping us, common people, they should have just pay the same amount from the very first time they give us re-baits.

  • zero

    Regular visitors on this blog and on TRE will know that i , zero, dont flame people even if they dont agree with me. I am intellectual enough not to do that.

    However i just have to break the rule this once to the above @im logic mind who said, Quote: the final result is our government is generous & give away free money to us & without obligation from us. PERIOD! UnQuote.

    I cannot believe that in this enlightened age of internet there are still such utterly stupid, brainwashed, brainless living things around.

    The fact of the matter is that the has no need to give us money if they don’t inrease the taxes, GST, etc etc., we don’t need the “rebates”.

    The simple fact is that the government slap a RECURRING gst increase, electricity increase of say, $20 EVERY month.

    Then they give you a “generous” rebate of $60 (example). What is the catch? The rebate is once-off.

    I shall not even bother to explain to the the idiot above, as to what is the difference between recurring costs and once-off rebates. He/she is intellectually challenged and is unlikely to grasp the point.


  • Ho Gao Gan

    Its pathetic ! Singapore policies are so Opaque!

    So many things have no answers or are unclear.

    Worse of all, the 60% Accept causing 40% to suffer.

    There are eadily 600 to 900 thousand citizens who have enough of pap and this does not even include the oblivious, scared and too young to vote and the dependents of oppo voters who were too young to vote.

    This critical mass has no leader. A sleeping Giant.

  • kanasai

    All kanasai; played out left and right, front and back, top and bottom. When it comes to paying themselves, they scoop multiple Pay And Pension concurrently. When come to helping citizens, all kinds of tricks come up, like throwing breadcrumbs and leftovers.

  • sal

    if i were given a license to operate a monopoly for supply of, say, petrol at retail pumps, for example.

    if i have the intention to profiteer by raising my retail pump price to, say, S$2 per litre, but wish to cushion off some public outcry, one of the effective pricing strategies would be to publish the retail pump price as S$2.50 per litre, pre-empting with lots of reasons for the price raise.

    i’ll then make a big announcement to offer a 20% rebate to help consumers offset the price increase. i’ll still receive S$2 per litre net after the 20% rebate.

    i’m confident i can quite easily get away with it, because the authority who granted me the license will have a fair share of this fortune too, and there’re still many consumers who’ll support me and tell others not to complain because i’ve been very kind to offer the 20% rebate, and that even if i should decide not to offer any rebate there’s absolutely nothing they can do.

  • Justice and Equality

    Don’t give rebate what can singaporeans do?


    Don’t vote PAP what can PAP do?

  • Godwin

    Our gahmen is not obliged to give any rebates and the fact they do so shows a lot of goodwill on their part. And like that also people want to blame gahmen? We should be fortunate the gahmen is giving us do many subsidies. Our taxes already so low and we have the best of everything. Can’t believe people still complain.

  • Be Contented

    Agree with Godwin.

    We should not split hairs over the type of rebates etc. In the 2011 Grow and Share package, additional GST off-sets/U-save rebates whatever you call it – these are cash rebate given to the poor to off-set cost of living increases. Why are we not grateful when Govt gives money to help the poor?

  • Tuning In…. TRE & TOC

    Excellent assessment…!!!

    Can someone submit this to WP and have it tabled for the next Parliament sitting?

    Should be a fantastic BBQ show…!!!

  • Sgcynic

    I am grateful to the government for increasing GST. Only then can it give money to help the poor. I am grateful to the government for raising utility tariffs. Only then can it give me rebates.

  • greed grid

    the gobblemen gobble up everything they can gobble so citizens are permanently caught in the greed grid.


    The central purpose of government in a democracy is to be the role model for, and protector of, equality and freedom and our associated human rights. For the first, government leaders are social servants, since through completing their specific responsibilities they serve society and the people. But above and beyond this they must set an ethical standard, for the people to emulate. For the second, the legal system and associated regulation are the basic means to such protection, along with the institutions of the military, for defense against foreign threats, and the police

  • We’re Singaporeans!

    There is no trust anymore with the ruling party. In 2007 my PUB bill was an average of
    $180pm today it average $380pm for the same number of people which is just two by the way!

    What’s this U-Save Rebate? Singaporeans are conned!

    Never ever trust another GST increase, tax, fees and surcharges to be imposed by the government – never bargain! Just fight against the propose increase to the death! Never be trick again!!

  • OpenEyeVoter

    Have you not all heard of deferred payment? Or free instalment for your car for 1st 12 months? You will pay…but just not now….

  • iVOTE

    Rightfully, U-Save should be for all Singaporeans instead of only to HDB dwellers? when we talk about equality?

    I am not entitled to U-Save because I live in a low end condo by default so how do iVOTE?

  • The Poor!

    If I still can survive thru these few years, I like to see how high all bonuses and rebate we will have in 2015/2016 before the election.
    PAP team know well Singaporean is very contented and forgetful……..they will give only before election so that you can vote them again for another term. They have done their calculation well:
     (rebate +bonus to all sinagporean in 2015/2016) < (highest pay in the world x 5 years)
    They give you little bit more but they will want you return and vomit out whatever gave to you after the election.