UAE | General

Sharjah sees red amid talks of power tariff hike

Residents angered by prospect of paying more for electricity amid power disruptions in Sharjah

  • By Duraid Al Baik, Associate Editor
  • Published: 00:00 May 31, 2010
  • Gulf News

A man tries to start the generator for his shop in Sharjah’s Industrial Area 6
  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • A man tries to start the generator for his shop in Sharjah’s Industrial Area 6. The power outage has affected many buildings in nearly all of the industrial and commercial areas.

Sharjah: Businessmen and residents reacted furiously to the idea of doubling the electricity tariff in Sharjah and said this would hinder economic activities in the emirate.

"[A] reasonable rate of uninterrupted power supplies was the main reason behind the migration of foreign investments into the UAE... any change in the environment would cause investments [to] depart from the emirate," Ashraf Khalid, an Asian investor and owner of an industrialist firm told Gulf News.
 


In its power conservation campaign, the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) had said that the cost of producing electricity was double the tariff Sewa imposed on its consumers.

Monopoly

The authority maintains a monopoly over the production and distribution of water and energy in the emirate. In October last year, Sewa had increased tariff on expatriates, commercial and industrial consumers by almost 44 per cent.

It introduced a 30 fils per kilowatt flat rate instead of a multi-layered tariff system starting from 20 fils per kilowatt. The authority said earlier that production of power costs around 60 fils per kilowatt as per Sewa's calculations.

Khalid said that Sewa will probably not be able to impose its cost rate without consulting with the authorities of neighbouring emirates. "Who is going to stay in Sharjah when it doubles the power rate when Dubai or Ajman charges 40 to 45 per cent of the rate.

"Electricity costs between 10 and 20 per cent of the monthly family budget and it would be unfair for residents to accept such a huge increase in power tariff if imposed in Sharjah," Khalid said.

Sewa has not announced a deadline for increasing its power tariff or if such an increase was definite but sources from the authority said that with the current level of debt there is no way out but for Sewa to increase tariff, amongst other tough measures to be taken by the authority.

Another commercial source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said neither the local government nor the federal authorities were willing to subsidise the consumption of power production in Sharjah or bear the difference in costs.

Bearing costs

"Sewa cannot continue to buy fuel from suppliers simply because they are not confident about the ability of the authority to pay the bill," he said. He said Sewa has no option but to maintain its scheme imposed on the city on hot days, placing the supply of residential areas and areas with a majority of UAE nationals as top priority.

"Free zones at the airport and Hamriya are still prioritised against supplying power to the industrial areas and areas with non-national majority," he said.

Huzaifa Ahmad, an Arab expatriate resident, said there is a need to consider the establishment of a more efficient power production authority in Sharjah.

"I think an efficient authority that charges users equally would not need to double the tariff at this stage. Even if increasing the current tariff becomes necessary, consumers like me, would understand the decision and would support it," he added.

Are you still being affected by the power cuts? How did you spend your time? Were you able to get through to Sewa? Share your experiences.

Comments (55)

  1. Added 18:22 May 31, 2010

    Its very strange SEWA so far have not come in media with any statement or any explaination exactly what's going on so far. What are there future plans will this power shortage will continue and how long this will continue. If SEWA has some serious problem they should inform us at least.

    Mohammad Shabbar, Sharjah, Pakistan

  2. Added 18:03 May 31, 2010

    I am resident of Sharjah and for us the power went off for more than 30hrs. It is surprising to know that the Sewa is not doing anything on this. When the people here are suffering from this situation I was surprised to see all the street lights being lit up at Sharjah university including the decorative ones, isn't pathetic. If the official can control this they could save a hell lot of electricity. They can find alternative by switching off a few lights and cut of the decorative ones and many more. Hope this power outage will be solved soon as this will force people to leave sharjah.

    Smitha, Sharjah, India

  3. Added 17:59 May 31, 2010

    Well now the power cuts are increasing according hours and sometimes the cuts are 2 times in a day. morning the factories looses the power and evening the residential areas. there is no end to it. when tried to call the number 991, they dont answer. and if they answer they say its a cable problem in your area. Can the electricity department face the problem or not. Can they give correct answers or not. this is a big question. its time when people will start to move towards other emirate. residents pay 70 to 90 Dhs every month even if the power or water is not used. these are mimimum service charges. whats the point in taking service charges when the power cuts cannot be stopped. who is suffering, only the consumers. even if you pay your bills the piwer cuts are there, if you have'nt paid then also the power is cut off due to that. its a question of how much to earn to fulfill all the expenses. NO LIMIT

    Anonymous, sharjah, Afghanistan

  4. Added 17:46 May 31, 2010

    sewa should cut extra light from the street and i have seen Many shops have extra light in their stores.Sewa should pass the atore with reasonable decoration light. I dont want to mention shop names. And dnot allow shop owner to use light sign board. Only painted sign board allowed. And i hvave seen since last so many years most of the villas has extra light on their villa boundries. Cut them forfew month we can save more electricity. Instead of dark. waheed

    waheed, sharjah, India

  5. Added 17:28 May 31, 2010

    I think, by declaring this, Sharjah will start losing its investors who will move to anothe remirate like dubai. Plus, residents will also start shifting to Dubai mostly bcz of cheap rents and better services.

    Shamel, Sharjah, Afghanistan

  6. Added 17:19 May 31, 2010

    Due to power cut people facing lot of difficult one side but other side in high raised building tenants are too much struggling to climb stairs in our building our real estate people took separate money for lift and maintenance purpose but while power cut there is no generator to operate atleast one the lift as we stay in G+3 P+15 floor building near Al Nadha Park same building of sharjah falcon cafeteria and in our family our old age parents suffered lot one day by climbing stairs it may end their life In this regard Sharjah Municipal what action it takes?????????????? Against Real Estate and Property owners and What sharjah govt will answer if old age people die in this circumstance. Like this in our surrounding area lot of high rise buildings are there.?

    ana, Sharjah, Philippines

  7. Added 17:02 May 31, 2010

    " CRY YOU ARE IN SHARJAH"

    saif, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 16:49 May 31, 2010

    SEWA needs to c losely monitor the criminal wastage of the electricity by property developers. These are the newly developed buildings. They keep the lights on on all the floors in all the rooms to rent out or to sell the appartments. In the middle of the night, while the streets are badly lit by Sharjah Municipality in Al Nahda area of Sharjah the roads get partial brightness from these buildings. To have a look GN reporters should visit the Al nahda Park area and witness for themselves, before the GN editor considers publishing my note. I have seen a 50 storey twin tower (adjacent to Al nahda SHJ Ring Road over bridge brightly lit before they sold the occupancy. This information is an eye opener for SEWA.

    Rohinton Bilimoria, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 16:41 May 31, 2010

    I think the burden would be too great. On May 29, electricity was cut from 12.30pm to 6.30pm and then from 8.15pm to 11.00pm. I feel that Sharjah needs to prevent this or residents will start to move.

    Kureshi, Sharjah, Pakistan

  10. Added 15:23 May 31, 2010

    increasing the tariff will be an extra finacial burdun over the concumer / tenant, as already we are paying extra amount in the name of Service charges AED 62/. doubling the tariff will encourage consumer to leave the emirates or stop paying the utility bills, as many firms are planning to reduce the salray package for there staff instead of oncreasing. This will be an extra load on the tenant specially in this era of cost cutting.

    Anonymous, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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