THE prolonged economic downturn has resulted in thousands of families being unable to pay their utility bills and MPs say they are seeing more cases of those who have had their power supply cut off.
Over the last six months, an average of 2,500 households a month in financial difficulties had been allowed to pay in instalments, said SP Services, the utilities bill collector.
By February, 1.6% of the one million domestic customers were in arrears for three months or more, which means nearly 16,000 households had not paid their bills in time.
SP Services did not say how many households were without electricity or water or how these figures compared with those before the economic slowdown.
But if what some MPs say is any indication, more families these days are seeing the plug pulled.
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, Charles Chong said: In the past, we used to see cases that were in arrears.
But now, it is not uncommon to see cases where the power supply has actually been cut off.
He had come across two cases at a meet-the-people session last month where the power supply had been disconnected and another where a resident had been warned that he would be in darkness if he did not pay immediately.
MP for West Coast GRC Ho Geok Choo now comes across four to five cases a week of people who cannot pay their utilities bills.
She said she even saw a family sitting in darkness during one of her walkabouts.
That family had just days ago asked her to appeal to the authorities to reschedule their payments.
Before that could happen, she said, their power supply was cut off and she had to ask for it to be reinstated. The Straits Times/Asia News Network
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