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LCQ3: Electrical Rewiring and Reinforcement Programme

     Following is a question by the Hon Lau Kong-wah and the reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, in the Legislative Council today (April 18):


     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) implemented the Electrical Rewiring and Reinforcement (ERR) Programme in 2005 to assist residents of old public housing estates (PHEs) in replacing electrical wiring and install additional power sockets in their flats, with a view to gradually addressing the problems of ageing of wiring and inadequate sockets in the flats of very old PHEs.  Some members of the public have recently reflected to me that electricity leakage incidents occurred in the flats of the Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) estates, and quite a number of these incidents were related to the ageing of wiring.  They have pointed out that tenants in TPS estates are still tenants of HA, and as most of them are low-income earners, it is difficult for these tenants themselves to improve the obsolete electrical installations, but ERR Programme at present does not cover TPS estates, thus such tenants need to face the threat of possible occurrence of electricity leakages.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the current progress of ERR Programme; upon completion of the aforesaid works, the life span of the new installations; whether the authorities have any plan in place to regularly inspect the electrical installations of the households which benefited from ERR Programme; if they have, of the interval between each inspection; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) apart from old PHEs which are currently covered by ERR Programme, whether the authorities will plan to carry out works to replace electrical wiring and install additional power sockets in the flats of all other PHEs across the territory; if they will, of the number of PHEs involved; and

(c) whether the authorities will plan to extend the scope of ERR Programme to include the rental flats of TPS estates; if they will, of the implementation timetable; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply :


     Before answering the Honourable Member's questions, I would like to provide some facts with regard to the background information.  The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) is committed to the progressive improvement of the living environment of the tenants of public rental housing (PRH), and has launched various maintenance and improvement programmes to upgrade the facilities of the PRH estates. The most significant of these include the Total Maintenance Scheme, the Responsive In-flat Maintenance Services and the Comprehensive Structural Investigation and Estate Improvement Programme, etc.  These programmes are all welcomed and widely supported by PRH tenants.  The HA will continue to implement them.

     As part of an ongoing programme to upgrade the supply capacity of the electrical systems of the domestic blocks of the PRH estates to the latest design standard so as to cope with the growing living standards of tenants, the HA has launched two separate electrical enhancement programmes, one in 1990 and the second in 2005, known as the Electrical Rewiring and Reinforcement Programme and the Rewiring Inside Domestic Flats (RDF) Programme respectively.  While these programmes were both to upgrade the electrical systems in the HA's PRH flats, they were independent from each other and tackled different issues.

     The objective of the "Electrical Rewiring and Reinforcement Programme" as mentioned in the questions is to increase the design standard of the power supply capacity of the domestic blocks in PRH estates.  The work included the replacement and upgrading of cables in communal areas outside the individual PRH flats.  The "Electrical Rewiring and Reinforcement Programme" commenced in 1990 and was completed in early 2006.  We have increased the power supply capacity of the old blocks to meet the latest design standard through the programme, which allows the same to be capable to meet the peak load of PRH tenants' electricity consumption during summer.  Since then, power failures due to the overloading of the power supply system have effectively ended.

     The replacement of the surface wiring and associated accessories including the consumer units, lighting switches and addition of socket outlets within PRH flats is under the works of RDF Programme.  We consider that the programme can upgrade the electrical installation inside the domestic flats to cope with the demand for electricity arising from growing living standard of PRH tenants.  This programme is ongoing.

     My reply corresponding to the 3 questions is as follows:

(a) The ongoing RDF Programme will cover PRH flats with surface wiring in about 100 PRH and Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) estates.

     Since the launching of the RDF Programme in 2005 and up to end March 2012, the HA has completed the rewiring works in about 95 000 PRH flats in 59 PRH estates.

     In the coming two years, the HA will implement the RDF Programme in PRH units in a further 11 estates; including 7 PRH and 4 TPS estates.

     After replacement under the RDF Programme, the new electrical installations have a usable lifespan of about 30 years. If tenants use the installations properly without overloading the circuit, they can be used longer.  The outer sheath protection of the insulated surface-mounted cable provides high reliability on safety.  Nevertheless, the integrity of its outer sheath will be checked during the general in-flat inspection of the HA's Total Maintenance Scheme conducted every 5 years and detailed inspection and repair work on any damaged or faulty electrical installations will be arranged on a need basis.  The HA will also respond promptly to tenants' request at any time to arrange for the effective repair of electrical installations.  

(b) As I have mentioned, the RDF Programme will cover rental flats with surface wiring in about 100 PRH and TPS estates.  However, since electrical wiring has been installed inside concealed conduits in the HA's PRH flats built since mid 1990's, the RDF Programme will not cover such PRH flats.

(c) The HA has included rental flats in TPS estates in its RDF Programme and the replacement works in the first four TPS estates will commence in April 2013.  These four TPS estates are Po Hong Estate, Tsui Ping (North) Estate, Tung Tau (2) Estate, Lei Cheng Uk Estate.

     The electrical installation outside the flats are communal facilities and the corresponding Owners' Corporation of the concerned TPS estates is required to conduct regular inspections and to arrange maintenance for the associated installation in accordance with the relevant statutory requirements.  The HA's representatives on the concerned Management Committee will explain to the concerned Ownersˇ¦ Corporation and the PRH tenants of the aim and works procedures before the RDF work commences.

Ends/Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Issued at HKT 14:01


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