LCQ17: Electronic water bills
Following is a question by the Hon Audrey Eu and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (February 20):
Recently, I have received complaints from members of the public that the Water Supplies Department ("WSD") does not provide electronic bills to the public, and has thus failed to save paper and public money as far as practicable. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the total number of water bills issued by WSD last year; and
(b) whether WSD will provide electronic bills; if so, when it will be tried out and then fully implemented, of the estimated number of users who will opt for receiving such bills, and the estimated average amount of paper to be saved each year upon implementation; if electronic bills will not be provided, the reasons for that?
(a) The Water Supplies Department (WSD) issued a total of some 7.2 million water bills last year.
(b) The WSD plans to provide electronic bill service and has started to upgrade its computer system for delivery of water bills to the users' electronic accounts. The WSD is also working with departments concerned on legislative issues for the provision of electronic bill service.
Subject to the progress of the above work, the WSD aims to provide the electronic bill service in stages starting from 2009. At the first stage, users who pay their water bills by autopay will be invited to opt for the electronic bill service. The WSD will review the actual performance of the service at the first stage before setting the schedule for the full implementation of the service to all users.
At this moment, no information is available for a reliable estimate on the number of users who will opt for the electronic bill service. However, when the service is ready to be taken forward, the WSD will publicise and promote it to encourage patronage.
The amount of paper to be saved each year upon provision of the electronic bill service depends on the number of electronic bill service users. On average, each user can help save the paper for at least three water bills per annum.
Ends/Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Issued at HKT 12:37