UAE | Housing & Property

Consumers should ensure Sewa meters work properly, official says

Faulty equipment could result in massive outstanding bills

  • By Mariam M. Al Serkal, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 January 1, 2012
  • Gulf News

A Sharjah consumer’s gas bill, which is apparently overcharging
  • Image Credit: Gulf News Archives
  • A Sharjah consumer’s gas bill, which is apparently overcharging, is placed next to the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority meter. A Sewa official has said it is the responsibility of the tenants to ensure that the meters are working properly and alert the utility if they are not functioning well.

Sharjah: Faulty Sewa (Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority) meters have left several tenants fuming over huge outstanding bills while the authorities say tenants are responsible for checking the meters.

Several residents complain they are oblivious of faulty meters until it is time for them to relocate to neighbouring emirates — leaving them with an outstanding bill that is debited from their deposit. The deposit amount for apartments varies but for a standard two-bedroom apartment it is Dh2000, according to Sewa.

Hamida Abu Bakr, a resident of Sharjah, is one of the many tenants hit by an outstanding bill caused by a faulty meter. As she was being charged Dh400 per month, Hamida was not aware that the metre was faulty.

"I have been living in a flat for more than four years and my bills were always paid promptly.

"Last month I decided to relocate to Dubai, and when I visited Sewa to collect my deposit and close my account I was in a shock when they told me that my meter was not working and I was only being charged for seven months," said Hamida, who explained that the authorities asked her to pay Dh180 for each month.

Estimate

"After complaining and talking to the seniors they accepted to charge me Dh130 as an estimate for each month. This is a one-bedroom flat with only two occupants who are out from morning until evening, and my monthly bill has always been above Dh400, even when I was out of country," she said.

"I find this is unfair because if the meter was not reading properly, how should I have known? I was not aware about it at all," Hamida said.

An official at Sewa, who declined to be named, explained that it is the residents' responsibility to be aware that the amount they are charged is significantly lower than their consumption. "If the tenant sees that they are being charged very little, they should notify Sewa immediately to change the meter. Meters are likely to be faulty due to the environment, or other factors," said the official, who declined to elaborate.

"When the tenant decides to change homes to another emirate, all their outstanding payments will have to be paid. That can either be paid for or debited from the deposit," he said.

Precautionary measures

"Tenants cannot close their account until their outstanding payments are cleared. They should also take precautionary measures and check that the water metre is working properly, and if it is not they should report it immediately," he added.

Comments (12)

  1. Added 16:52 January 1, 2012

    Really disappointed by the response of the Sewa employee. As long as the customers do not tamper with the meter boxes they cannot be held responsible for its functioning. So if the meter has been recording wrong readings, etc. then it is Sewa's job to monitor it and take action

    Siddharth, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:29 January 1, 2012

    Last month Water meter reading has been showing high reading compared to previous months resulting in to higher billing amount. When I went to complain to Sewa, office engineer suggested me to wait for readings of next 2/3 months and then to register complain. This mens Sewa might charge higher bill due to faulty meter and would take no corrective action for same period.

    Mahesh, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 14:25 January 1, 2012

    SEWA should take measures to check the conditions of the meters. how do people know that his or her meter is working or not?

    maddy, shrajah, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 14:20 January 1, 2012

    This has happened to me as well. When I moved from 1 bed to a 2 bed flat in the same building I was charge huge amount mentioning the water meter was stopped working for few months and still they have been charged me an estimated amount. I don't know on what basis they do the estimation and since I didn't get any favorable answer from Sewa and they were rude. as always I payed the demanded amount. Every other month a person from Sewa comes and takes the reading from the meters. Why don't they report about these faulty meters and on what basis they demand the tenants to keep eye on them ?

    Dushan, Al Qasimiya, Sri Lanka

  5. Added 13:45 January 1, 2012

    I had similar problems with Dewa. My first bill was dh 14,000 for a studio appartment. I ended up paying it as there didn't seem to be any other way to get electricity and water connected to my appartment.

    Ben, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 13:06 January 1, 2012

    Sewa should not charge the tenant if the meter is faulty. Instead, they should return the money paid in excess to actual consumption by tenant after thorough investigation by them when the fault came. Sewa is always checking this monthly for billing, they are the ones who will first know if the meter is working properly. Poor tenants who are honestly paying every bill, but Sewa staffs do not notice if meter is in good condition or not. Sewa should improve their system.

    Ed Magno, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:20 January 1, 2012

    Absolutely immoral statement from Sewa. How does a consumer know that the meter is working correctly? Consumer is not a technician.

    Huz, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:13 January 1, 2012

    How come the tenant is responsible to observe the fault in meter when he has no access to the meter room? It is responsibility of the building management and then Sewa to observe such defects, proactively attend such complaints and endeavour to replace faulty meters.

    Arshad, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 12:10 January 1, 2012

    I am not using the pipeline gas that Sewa is offering and still i am billed for that service. how is it possible? still i dont have any option other than to pay the bill.

    Piyush, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 11:53 January 1, 2012

    if meter is not operating properly then how could consumers be liable for that?

    xylo, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  11. View more comments

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