Sharjah: Residents here have been taken aback upon receiving their latest electricity bill on which they noticed a new "service charge" has been introduced along with a revised tariff system.
"The new service charges were implemented with effect from April 1 in order to improve the services provided by the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa)," according to a customer service representative at a Sewa office branch.
The customer service representative confirmed that families are charged a service charge of Dh30 for electricity, Dh20 for water and Dh20 for gas connections.
Bachelor accommodations are levied a service charge of Dh100 for electricity, Dh50 for water and Dh50 for gas.
It means every family in a house or flat will have to pay an additional Dh70 per month.
The total service charges for bachelor accommodation will be Dh200, in addition to the standard charge for electricity, water and gas.
"There was no campaign to inform us of the new service charges and I had no idea why I was being charged more until I contacted the Sewa office.
"Authorities should have told us in advance," said Saurav.
He, like many other residents, thinks these charges are unfair. The new price structures for water, electricity and gas were also implemented on April 1 by Sewa in order to reduce consumption in the emirate.
However, some residents complained although they complied with the required consumption rate they still had to pay the extra service charges. "We can try to limit our consumption of electricity and water, but we do not understand why we should be charged more for it.
"Having an additional monthly expense has increased our financial burdens," said a resident at Al Majaz, who declined to be named. It was reported earlier that Al Waleed Bin Khadim, Director General of Sewa, said the revised tariff slabs on utilities would affect only 20 per cent of consumers. Consumers will have to pay for services proportionate to their usage.
New Tariff: How much it costs
Sewa's new tariff means residential and commercial consumers of electricity will pay 20 fils per kilowatt hour (kWh) for 0 to 2,000 kWh; 24 fils per kWh for 2,001 to 4,000; 28 fils per kWh for 4,001 to 6,000; and 33 fils per kWh for 6,001 and above.
For industrial users, the rates will be 20 fils per kWh for 0 to 10,000 and 33 fils per kWh for 10,001 and above.
Residential and commercial users of water currently pay 3 fils per gallon and will continue to do so as long they do not use more than 6,000 gallons.
If consumption reaches 6,001 to 12,000 gallons the price will then go up to 3.5 fils per gallon, and 4 fils per gallon for consumers who use more than 12,001 gallons.