The Month of Free Utilities
story Lai Ying Tong
For almost a month since moving in, Yale-NUS College students have had access to free printing in the library, free air-conditioning in dorms, and free washers and dryers in laundry rooms. The lack of payment systems for these utilities, caused by a delay in implementation, may have led to increased usage. This will end in the upcoming weeks, as printing and air-conditioning payment systems are installed. Laundry machines however, will remain free to use.
Some students may be printing in higher volume because printing is free. “We did notice that some students used their [printing] credit up right away, and those who did were tending to do a lot of printing in color,” Director of Educational Resources and Technology Ken Panko said. Mr. Panko stressed that this was a minority of students.
Some students may also be using air-conditioning more frequently because it is free. Herman Lim ’18 shared that, while he does not personally use air-conditioning, his suite keeps a unit running in an open room at all times to cool down the common area.
Executive Vice President Doris Sohmen-Pao agreed that having free utilities does affect the volume of usage, and expressed her support for the payment systems as “giving incentive to save.” She said that the College was unable to provide accurate readings on student energy usage in this period, as electrical bills in the current stage of “extensive rectification works” are shared with the contractors of development.
The payment systems were “late in implementation” due to unexpected delays in coordination with the external contractors, Ms. Sohmen-Pao said. In particular, the process of tendering for printing took longer than they had expected.
The air-conditioning payment system will be set up in this week, Ms. Sohmen-Pao said. Students will be charged by the hour and will be able to top up credits online or through a kiosk located at East Core Level 1.
The printing payment system will be installed in the first week of September. Students will be able to top-up their printing accounts using EZ-link cards at a kiosk in the Learning Commons.
The laundry system will remain free because the administration believes it is more economical than hiring a staff to collect coins from the machines, Ms. Sohmen-Pao said. The full set of five washers and five dryers for each residential college will be delivered by the end of September.