Across the Group, services are in place that ensure most challenges, including language, culture, literacy, financial situation or disability, do not prevent people from accessing and using the Company’s products and services.
Special arrangements are in place for customers facing financial difficulties to avoid having to disconnect their electricity supply.
In Hong Kong, CLP Power offers a braille bill to assist those who are visually impaired. In Australia, EnergyAustralia provides interpreter services for those with a first language other than English, and also offers hearing-impaired and vision-impaired billing services.
Despite soaring international fuel prices for electricity generation resulting in an increase in the fuel cost adjustment, CLP Power strives to smoothen price fluctuations to provide reasonably priced and stable electricity supply.
During 2022, CLP Power offered more than HK$220 million of community funding to launch a series of community support programmes. For example, in supporting residential customers, CLP Power offered a total of HK$50 million in electricity subsidies to around 50,000 households in need through the ongoing CLP Power Connect Programme. Under the programme, CLP Power also provided subsidies and one-stop support for the landlords of subdivided units to carry out rewiring works, and install individual electricity meters for tenants of subdivided units, to improve the safety of the units and electricity usage tracking. The programme was launched in January 2019, and at the end of 2022, 40 subdivided units were rewired with 134 individual electricity meters installed.
Soaring international fuel prices and surge in the fuel cost for electricity generation have led to an increase in Fuel Clause Charge. To ease the burden of families in need, CLP Power allocated HK$100 million in 2023 to the CLP Fuel Cost Subsidy Programme, providing one-off fuel cost subsidies to 150,000 underprivileged households and tenants of subdivided units in its supply area. In addition to that, it allocated HK$25 million in 2023 to help tenants of subdivided units to improve their home safety and living conditions as well as subsidise families in transitional housing to buy energy-efficient electrical appliances.
CLP Power announced HK$200 million in community support with HK$100 million allocated for subsidising the fuel expenses of 150,000 grassroots families in 2023.
EnergyAustralia recognises that all customers need to be able to access its products and services fairly and equally. Through its Energy Charter, EnergyAustralia commits to working together to improve affordability and to support customers experiencing vulnerable circumstances.
2022 was another challenging year for Australian customers with an unprecedented number of factors impacting their ability to pay – such as longer than expected recovery timeframes for businesses impacted by the pandemic, supply chain issues, inflation, interest rate increases, general cost of living expenses and multiple flooding events on the east coast in Australia. This saw a significant increase in both residential and business customers experiencing financial difficulties and seeking support. In response to the current economic environment and the reoccurring natural disasters from January to December 2022, EnergyAustralia helped residential customers experiencing difficult financial situations by putting in place over 225,851 payment plans and granting more than 363,338 payment extensions. For customers impacted by long-term financial hardship, assistance is available under the EnergyAssist hardship programme.
The programme helps customers by offering tailored payment plans, payment matching and debt waivers, as well as energy efficiency education to ensure that customers are well-informed for making decisions. EnergyAustralia monitors the number of customers on the programme, their debt levels, and the number of successful completions. In 2022, 37,864 account holders entered the programme and 11,441 account holders left the programme after successfully completing their payment commitments. This represents a graduation rate of 30%, slightly higher than 27% in 2021.
EnergyAustralia’s business customers were some of the first to access tailored support. Rapid Business Assist, a programme launched in 2020 to support SMEs facing financial uncertainty, continued in 2022. In consultation with customers, specialist EnergyAustralia business advisers customise payment schedules, offer free standard disconnections and reconnections, advise on lowering energy consumption, and provide guidance on government energy relief subsidies. In 2022, the programme provided more than 15,624 payment extensions and over 2,490 payment plans for business customers.
In addition, EnergyAustralia partnered with various organisations to assist customers in financial hardships and improve energy efficiency. EnergyAustralia is a member of The One Stop One Story Hub Partnership, which helps connect its customers and supports those facing Family and Domestic Violence or financial hardship to navigate support programs available without having to repeat their situation multiple times. Since becoming a partner in May 2022, EnergyAustralia assisted 109 customers to date. EnergyAustralia also partnered with Uniting Energy Audits to provide its customers with energy efficiency information via a home or phone audit. This organisation also provided additional support in the form of referrals to other support services and completing applications related to government grant. EnergyAustralia also partnered with the Good Guys to assist with the delivery of new appliances and removal of old ones as part of our appliance swap programme.
The Group is committed to contributing to programmes which support healthy, resilient and sustainable community development over the short and long term. In line with the CLP Group Community Initiatives, Sponsorship and Donation Policy on community engagement, the Company aims to:
Support projects or programmes that reflect the needs and expectations of local communities and are sensitive to prevailing cultures, traditions and values;
Support projects or programmes that are systematically managed with clearly identified objectives and expected outcomes;
Engage in long-term partnerships with credible international, national, regional and local community organisations, non-governmental organisations and charities;
Support projects or programmes that offer an opportunity for CLP’s employees to be involved; and
Regularly evaluate the outcomes and impacts of the contributions.
CLP’s community investment strategy is guided by the CLP Group Community Initiatives, Sponsorship and Donation Policy, which sets out principles and directions in the implementation of community initiatives across all business units and functions. The policy, alongside the Company’s corporate governance and internal control measures, as well as a standardised online reporting platform, aim to facilitate a coherent and transparent approach in the assessment, design, review and reporting of CLP’s community activities. This helps ensure resources are effectively deployed to serve the community’s needs in a timely manner.
The strategy focuses on four key areas: Community Wellbeing, Environment, Education and Development, and Arts and Culture. Each business unit implements the strategy according to local conditions and community needs.
CLP’s Community Initiative Approach
Monitoring and follow-up
The CLP Group Community Initiatives, Sponsorship and Donation policy is reviewed every three years to ensure it aligns with the Company’s development and changes in the external environment.
Different socio-economic impact measurement tools that evaluate the social impact of community initiatives have been benchmarked. The most suitable tools are used to review the effectiveness of CLP's community initiatives.
CLP has a standardised online reporting system for reviewing and reporting its community initiatives. The system is designed to enhance the overall effectiveness and efficiency of these initiatives by aggregating data on themes, partners, spending, beneficiaries, volunteer hours and impacts.
Of the more than 1,305,000 beneficiaries in 2022, 72.1% benefitted from CLP's community wellbeing initiatives. The significant increase in beneficiaries resulted thanks to CLP’s Retail and Catering Coupons Programme.
As pandemic restrictions were eased in certain regions, the number of volunteer hours and community programmes contributed increased significantly in 2022. The amount donated by CLP for charitable and other community purposes decreased to HKD$10 million. Community spending by theme and geography is summarised in the charts below.
Amount donated for charitable and other purposes (HK$M)1
The largest percentage of community spending was directed to Hong Kong (94%).
Restated as per updated data of spending in 2021.
In 2022 EnergyAustralia’s Workplace Giving Programme remains stable, with almost A$380,000 contributed by our employees. The funding raised has contributed to nine charity partners working in the areas of cancer research, homelessness, mental health and education.
Employees at Yallourn Power Station selected The People’s Kitchen located in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley as one of the newest charity partners. The programme has volunteers cooking meals for those people in the community who are experiencing food insecurity.
In the first year of partnership, The People’s Kitchen received over A$20,000 (HK$108,467) in donations from EnergyAustralia’s employees and matched by EnergyAustralia. Thanks to the contribution of Workplace Giving Programme, The People’s Kitchen have been able to scale up their operations, cooking more meals for hungry people.
While the Group’s HSE Management System Standard sets out an overarching approach to managing the safety risks in operations, responsibility is also taken for preserving public health and safety, including for people who work or live in close proximity to electricity supply lines.
CLP operates a transmission and distribution network in Hong Kong, as well as transmission networks in Shenzhen, China and North-eastern part of India, covering Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. Working near electricity supply lines can pose safety concerns. The Hong Kong and Mainland China operations conduct regular construction site inspections and provide cable plans and safety talks to road work contractors and site management personnel to enhance safety awareness at all locations.
EMF arising from power systems can be of public health concerns. CLP’s power supply equipment fully complies with the guidelines issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Regular EMF measurements of power supply equipment are carried out jointly with the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department of the Hong Kong Government. The measured EMF levels continue to be well below the guideline limits.
Regarding customer health and safety, CLP Power has customer service centres conveniently located in its supply areas in Hong Kong to provide assistance on product safety, as well as advise on energy-efficient products, energy-saving tips and other account management issues. In 2022, there were no reportable cases of CLP products affecting customer health and safety in Hong Kong.
Maintaining proper Health, Safety and Environment management practices for transmission towers is important to keep the general public safe.
The safe and steady operation of the two nuclear power stations remains a top priority. The defence-in-depth principle of safety is applied across the full spectrum of areas – from design, site selection, operation, radiation protection, environmental monitoring, to emergency preparedness. The safety principle of "As Low As Reasonably Achievable" is also applied to ensure robust radiation protection.
The two nuclear power stations have achieved good safety performance over the years. This achievement is a result of:
Adopting best international practices, including the International Atomic Energy Agency Nuclear Safety Standards, in its operations;
A well-trained and qualified workforce;
Well-established safety practices and procedures; and
Daya Bay Nuclear Power Station (Daya Bay) follows national policy and international practices for nuclear waste management. The station stores its spent nuclear fuel onsite in dedicated storage facilities.
The back-end management of the fuel cycle remains onsite for a number of years before being passed on to a service provider licensed by the Chinese Government for reprocessing. The service provider is supervised by the National Nuclear Safety Administration and its environmental impact is monitored by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The policy in Mainland China on reprocessing spent nuclear fuel is similar to that of a number of European countries.
As the minority owner of Daya Bay, CLP is not in a position to report on the back-end management of the fuel cycle in China, including the status of the reprocessing plants for spent fuel.
Low- to intermediate-level solid radioactive waste is packed and stored in a dedicated facility onsite on an interim basis and is secured to prevent unauthorised access. The waste is transferred to a final repository operated by a service provider, using the shallow burial method commonly adopted in the United States, France and the United Kingdom. The operation of the offsite repository is under the supervision of the national nuclear regulator and relevant nuclear safety regulations.
Monitoring and follow-up
Radiation exposure for workers is closely monitored and managed by plant operators both collectively and at an individual level as part of operating protocols. Workers incur most of their radiation dosage during planned refuelling outages, when much of the work is undertaken at the nuclear generating units. The level of radiation dosage is typically associated with the number of planned outages carried out at the units, which require inspection and maintenance activities in radiation-controlled areas.
Training and awareness
An onsite training school provides professional training on operational procedures for nuclear sites. The training aims to enhance nuclear safety and systematically minimise human error. There is a once-every-five-years requalification mechanism to ensure operator professionalism and competency in plant operation.
In line with good business practice, Daya Bay has provisioned for the expenses associated with the future decommissioning of the plant as required by relevant laws and regulations.
The average dose rate in 2022 was less than 0.4 mSv per person per year. For the purpose of comparison, the background radiation dose rate for Hong Kong is 2.4 mSv per person per year from the natural environment.
The charts below show the amount of spent nuclear fuel and low- to intermediate-level radioactive nuclear waste from Daya Bay over recent years. The amounts of both types of waste are related to the number of planned refuelling outages in each year.
Two planned refuelling outages were carried out in Daya Bay in 2022. Therefore, the total quantity of spent nuclear fuel generated was at an expected level.