Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


In light of rising oil prices, Research Associates at the Energy Studies Institute at NUS Mr Allan Loi and Mr Nur Azha Putra reviewed the relationship between electricity tariffs and oil prices in a Channel NewsAsia commentary on 28 June. Despite the fact that electricity is mainly generated by natural gas currently, purchased gas imports are still pegged to oil price changes by predetermined formulas in Asia, said the writers. This means that electricity bills are expected to increase in the next quarter. Knowing this, the researchers suggested a few ways for households to save on their bills — by conserving electricity, or switching to an alternative electricity provider.

In another commentary in Channel NewsAsia on 29 June, Dr Cecilia Tortajada, Senior Research Fellow from the Institute of Water Policy at the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy analysed the individual preparedness in Singapore with regards to the country’s water scarcity. She commended the various initiatives Singapore’s Public Utilities Board has made to diversify the country’s sources of water, including investing in R&D and providing reused water. It is still essential for Singapore residents, businesses and industrial sectors to understand the importance of water conservation though, she pointed out, suggesting that one way might be through more inclusive, long-term educational programmes for young people.

With the news of the liquidation of bike-sharing company oBike, questions have been raised about the deposits made by users. Mr Jeremiah Lau, Sheridan Fellow from NUS Law penned a commentary in The Straits Times on 29 June analysing the legal nature of these deposits. Whether the deposits can be refunded depends on if the deposits were debts, or held in trust, Mr Lau wrote. The former would mean the users are unsecured creditors, while in the latter, they have property rights and can be protected from the company’s possible insolvency. Mr Lau also suggested that bike-sharing companies could come under government regulations in the event of similar situations in the future.

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