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Leaks and condensation issues persist for some Tengah residents using CCS

Residents in Tengah flats continue to grapple with CCS issues—water leakage and condensation. SP Group assures ongoing efforts, addressing 80 remaining cases in their Monday statement.



SINGAPORE: Some residents of Tengah flats continue to grapple with persistent issues related to the centralised cooling system (CCS), months after initial reports of leaking problems surfaced.

Numerous residents have complained about issues with their CCS especially regarding water leakage and condensation affecting their Build-to-Order (BTO) units in the housing estate.

Images and videos circulating within a Telegram chat group dedicated to documenting such issues depict puddles forming on floors due to the malfunctioning cooling system.

Previously, frustrations arose among some Tengah residents due to the delayed installation of CCS in their new flats, with keys being handed over despite the incomplete CCS setup.

The CCS, heralded as a sustainable alternative to traditional air-conditioning, is being trialled in Tengah.

Unlike conventional air-conditioners that rely on refrigerants, this system operates by circulating chilled water from centralised chillers installed on selected housing blocks into individual units through a network of pipes.

Managed by national grid operator SP Group, the system has faced challenges from its inception.

Even before the commencement of key collection in August of the previous year, reports of leaks and condensation had already surfaced.

In response, SP Group announced measures such as waiving usage charges until the end of 2023 and reducing rates starting 1 January.

However, complaints persist despite these efforts.

Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported that SP Group attributed the initial batch of issues to workmanship challenges and a “compressed timeline” for installation and testing.

Collaborating with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and Daikin, SP Group pledged to expedite resolutions for reported issues, aiming for a turnaround time of 10 business days from the initial inspection.

As of 12 February, over 9,000 subscribers have signed up for the CCS, constituting approximately 70% of flat leases in Tengah, with about 2,600 subscribers having already collected their keys.

Water stains and damaged plaster

Affected residents shared accounts of damage caused by the faulty cooling system.

Mitchell Ee, a homeowner at Plantation Grange, recounted how leaks from the system inundated her bedroom, damaging vinyl floor tiles and causing paint dissolution on walls.

Despite subscribing to the centralised cooling system for its promised cost and energy savings, Ee opted to terminate her contract due to safety concerns.

Another homeowner, identified as Mr Jay, experienced similar issues, with condensation from piping damaging walls and plaster in his unit at Plantation Village.

While repairs were eventually made, the ordeal prolonged his move-in process and raised doubts about the system’s reliability.

He expressed scepticism about the system’s efficacy, opting to monitor its performance closely and considering removal if issues persist.

Meanwhile, others, like Jerome Low and Muhd Amali Abdul Halim, reported timely resolutions to their respective problems but remained vigilant against potential recurrence.

SP Group’s response

SP Group acknowledged the challenges faced but emphasized ongoing efforts to address them, noting improvements in testing and quality assurance processes.

“Perceptions that the issues with the centralised cooling system at Tengah are large scale and widespread were coloured by the initial wave of feedback from customers who moved in during the compressed timeline,” SP Group said in a statement issued on Monday.

“These are teething issues that have surfaced for a new town like Tengah. After proactively implementing our additional testing, commissioning works and quality assurance measures, we have observed the situation stabilising.”

They added that about 80 remaining cases are in the process of being resolved.

“With the experience gained from the past few months, improvements made to our installation, testing and quality assurances processes, as well as the improved flat delivery schedule going forward, we will work towards reducing such feedback cases in the months ahead.”

The company also highlighted the Ministry of National Development’s acknowledgement of condensation issues as a common occurrence in conventional air-conditioning systems, underscoring broader industry challenges.

This acknowledgement was accompanied by statistics revealing that the HDB receives an average of 715 cases of feedback per year on this issue.

Online response regarding CCS’s persistent issue

While many empathize with the challenges encountered by residents due to the centralised cooling system (CCS), there are also those who voice their own criticism regarding its implementation.

“The cost of rectifying this issue is very very high. They made a mistake of not accessing the potential issues of a centralised cooling system,” one user wrote.

Some highlighted the trial-and-error nature of the CCS in Tengah flats, suggesting that subsequent developments in Tengah might improve upon this experience.

One user acknowledged the potential benefits of CCS but emphasized the importance of subjecting it to a thorough “time test” to ensure its effectiveness and reliability.

“It was a good idea, but ideas need to be time tested,” the user said.

Another user brought up additional concerns about the flats, alleging that “the weak and porous wall and ceiling is also another problem, causing neighbor disputes,” they noted.

Additionally, certain users voiced criticism towards SP’s response, expressing the view that labeling the matter as a “teething” problem is unjustified, given the extent of damage inflicted upon residents’ homes.

Tengah residents’ accounts

Some Tengah residents who were impacted also seized the opportunity to share and recount their experiences.

One resident expressed that the issue had caused them “so much stress and frustration,” particularly during a phase of finger-pointing and blame-shifting with those accountable.

She expressed relief at having opted to dismantle the entire system and replace it with a conventional air conditioning unit.

Similarly, another user conveyed that the problem had also caused them “so much stress,” particularly as their house had already undergone complete renovation.

The user noted that the unit was positioned directly above their TV console, resulting in water splashing everywhere when they attempted to open the air conditioning unit.

“…all I can say is, this CCS project is a total failure,” the user added.

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Every time your HDB flat floods, you can say that 50 years have passed. The ruling government will then claim that it is not a flood, but ponding.

Well, vote for lightning and eventually you will get struck. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Incompetence is here to stay.

Notice whenever there is an embarrassing issue, the relevant million$ minister is noticeably MISSING – no face, no sound. HDB and SPG – should be under MND, right?

CCS issue must find minister CCS to rectify it….lol.

If in the old lky era, all these so-called experts, contractors and civil servants in HDB/SP/URA will get the axe immediately. If found out there is corruption involved during the project bidding, design and implementation, see who will go into “changi chalet”.

It is a sad reflection of our so-called expertise that MAJOR problems happened in the new Tengah housing estate. Why can’t SP get it right the first time? SP refers to these problems as teething problems. It is a pathetic effort to trivialise a nightmare scenario faced by many of the residents. Those residents affected should get together and demand not only rectification but compensation (even those who cancelled their contract). I say sue the HDB directly. The HDB can then involve the contractors or suppliers. I would be surprised if there will be takers should the HDB were to… Read more »

See how these well fed and extremely well paid elites pointing fingers at everything else but themselves?

These problems are likely just the beginning of more issues unless they totally ripped off the CCS and go back to individual system air-conditioning

Cannot use a chilling water concept unlike commercial where the load is full and able to be determined 24/7 but in residential you cannot determine the % load when not all residents are using it.
Total failure but these daft resident sure would not get their FULL REFUND!
And everyday or everynow and then…ponding inside their unit!
SONG BO?😆😆😆😆

Without your sacrifices
How to improve and cater to other new estate .