Dec 2, 2009

No hike in water and electricity rates in Dubai

Dubai: There has been no increase in water and electricity tariffs and any perceived excess charges should be balanced out in next month's bill, a spokesperson at the Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (Dewa) said.
The anger among Dubai residents over the doubling of Dewa tariffs was caused by confusion about a new billing system that calculates cycles between specific dates and not by the entire month, said Abdullah Al Hajiri, Executive Vice President of Customer Service at Dewa.
"If you check exactly from which date to which you have been charged and calculate your daily average charge, you will notice that there have been no hikes in prices," he said.
A number of Dubai residents have been fuming over the doubling of their utility bills. Leena, a Palestinian living in an apartment for four, said her September bill had doubled from an average of Dh600 to Dh1,200.
"I thought it was due to a new television we had bought, so we started switching it off at the socket instead of keeping it on standby, and became very careful about our electricity usage," she said.
Al Hajiri said the confusion could be attributed to the fact that the September bill was calculated "from a little before the month to a little after the month", but that would be taken into consideration in the next month's bill. He said it was not uncommon for billing cycles to be irregular as they could be affected by official holidays and other factors.
Al Hajiri urged residents to call the customer service line and file complaints, saying every case would be considered. Arish Ehsan, a Dubai resident, however said that filing a complaint with Dewa left him with a Dh30 charge. "I complained and they sent someone to check my meter. They charged me for it, saying that the charge applied if there was no problem with the meter."
Utility bills: Complaints lodged
Hundreds of subscribers of the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) in Ras Al Khaimah have lodged official complaints about a hike in electricity and water charges as they felt that they were charged double or triple their regular bill amount. The Fewa complaints section has offered the payment of bills in instalments to ease the burden of angry residents who justified their ire by saying that their power consumption in the past month has been the same. The subscribers said their last bill amounted to Dh2,000 as compared to two to three bills earlier which showed amounts of Dh600 to Dh800.
Fewa has admitted to receiving a huge number of complaints. Mohammad Khalil Al Shamsi, a spokesperson for Fewa, said that the bills received by subscribers recently were for the month of Ramadan. He stressed that there has been no increase in electricity and water rated and requested those who had doubts regarding their bills to approach Fewa for clarifications.

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