Written Answer by Ministry of National Development on cases of injury and death by electrocution that have taken place in HDB flats over the past 10 years

Apr 5, 2022

Dr Tan Wu Meng: To ask the Minister for National Development (a) over the past 10 years, how many cases of injury and death by electrocution have taken place in HDB flats; (b) what proportion of these incidents has involved an electrical circuit that has been protected and unprotected by the residual current circuit breaker (RCCB) respectively; (c) how many HDB flats currently do not have RCCB protection covering the entire unit; and (d) what is being done to improve electrical safety for residents.


1          From 2014 to end-2021, there have been four separate electrocution incidents taking place in HDB flats, involving five deaths and one injury. HDB does not have data of such incidents prior to 2014. Of the four cases, one involved an electrical circuit without RCCB and two electrical circuits with faulty circuit-breakers.

2          Flats built before 1985, which comprise about 30% of our current HDB housing stock, were provided with fuses. RCCBs became a requirement from 1985, and this applied to new homes (including HDB flats) built on or after 1985 as well as older homes (including flats) that underwent substantive renovations. Over the years, most of these flats, which are close to 40 years old, would have undergone renovations, would likely have had their electrical circuit rewired and installed with RCCBs in line with the regulatory requirements. Based on a sample survey of about 1,800 HDB flats built before 1985, it is estimated that less than 1% of such flats do not have RCCB protection covering the entire unit.

3          To ensure electrical safety in residential premises, including HDB flats, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) regulates electrical installations in Singapore via the Electricity (Electrical Installations) Regulations. These regulations require all electrical works, such as the installation of electrical wiring and RCCBs, to be undertaken by a licensed electrical worker (LEW). The regulations also require the LEW to ensure that the electrical works meet the industry technical and safety requirements and standards.

4          After the completion of the electrical installations, the LEW is required to apply to SP Group for inspection and testing of the installations. This is to ensure that they have been installed correctly and are safe and fit for operation, before the electricity supply can be turned on.

5          Since August 2020, HDB has included the option to rewire non-compliant water heaters for flats undergoing the Home Improvement Programme (HIP). HDB has also advised flat owners to replace RCCBs which are found faulty during HIP. For HIP projects tendered in 2020 under the new extended HIP, HDB has included the checking and replacement of faulty RCCBs.

6          EMA also conducts periodic educational campaigns on electrical safety in partnership with agencies such HDB and Enterprise Singapore (ESG). For example, in July 2021, EMA sent out information leaflets in utility bills to remind homeowners to test their RCCBs. Flat owners should check that their entire flat is protected by RCCB and test their RCCBs regularly to ensure the safety of electrical circuits, especially in older homes. Flat owners can contact HDB should they need help in locating their RCCB and finding electrical contractors who they can engage for the checks.

7          HDB will continue to work with EMA on efforts to raise awareness and improve electrical safety for HDB residents.