Sharjah: The Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) has raised the deposits paid by all utility subscribers, sources at the authority told Gulf News on Monday.
The decision, issued last month with immediate effect, will impact 200,000 households and businesses, including those who paid the original deposit years ago.
Deposits of tenants in studio, single and two-bedroom apartments have been doubled from Dh1,000.
Tenants in three-bedroom flats will have to pay Dh3,000, while those living in four-bedroom flats will pay Dh4,000. Tenants of villas will have to pay more based on the size of the villa and the expected consumption of water and electricity.
The deposits, paid to guarantee settlement of a subscriber's dues, will generate an additional Dh500 million to the authority.
"The logic behind collecting deposits from subscribers of Sewa services is to deduct the amount of the last bill if a tenant fails to do so and leaves the property without settling electricity and water bills before his departure," the source said.
The system was introduced in the mid-1980s following cases of people running away, leaving their utility bills unsettled.
A commercial customer who was asked to increase the deposit from Dh1,000 to Dh4,000 told Gulf News that he complained against the increase because he felt there was no justification for such an increase.
"My monthly utility bill is still the same as it was some five years ago and I have never delayed the payment of my dues to Sewa. Officials from Sewa informed me that they are enforcing an internal circular that was not made public and they will not be able to exempt him from the deposit hike," he said.
Tenants of commercial outlets were also obliged to pay Dh500 for shops or properties without a water supply and Dh1,000 for shops that have water connections.
In some cases, an extra amount was levied on shops and commercial outlets in the form of deposits based on their average utility bills in the past 12 months just when their monthly bill is more than 50 per cent of the deposit paid earlier to the order of the authority. The deposit was being calculated to cover two-and-a-half months of the average utility bill of any household or commercial property.
Sewa did not explain why its customers must pay the extra deposit when they had already paid it 10 or 15 years ago, but sources from the authority said that whatever deposit amounts paid up by the subscribers will be returned to them when they leave the property.
I would like to advise all Sharjah residents to leave Sharjah. They are going to get more money by using tenants but on the other hand they are not providing any facilities to make it easier for tenants.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 09:24
The decision from Sewa is not at all fair. Now they are collecting service charges also, apart from the deposit. The funny thing is, I don't have a gas connection in my building, but Sewa collected a Dh500 deposit from me. Sewa is saying that the system was introduced in the mid-1980s following cases of people running away, leaving their utility bills unsettled, but if someone does not pay and runs away, this is not the problem of all subscribers.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 09:18
This is unjustified as people are already not able to manage their budget after the introduction of service charges. Expatriates from India, Pakistan etc will now start thinking about leaving the UAE and settle back in their native countries.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 09:12
Totally unbelievable! After fixing a monthly service charges in the Sewa bill, then what now? Sharjah should be improved for the better for all residents and they should not be pulled down by more living costs. Implement new things which will make the people happy amidst the inflation around.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 09:11
To deposit the money is easy but to get this back is very difficult. Suppose a tenant is going back to their home country for good. They got the visa cancelled. Grace period to stay in the country is 30 days. After disconnecting the Sewa services one should wait at least 10 days to get their deposit back. Are they going to stay without water and electricity for 10 days? If Sewa can arrange to release the deposit at the time of settling the final bill, I think this is feasible.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 09:01
Really, now is the time to quit the UAE. Every day there is a hike in some form.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 09:00
Sewa is not only making money on our security deposits, in terms of the interest earned, but now they want to make more money in terms of interest. And the service is still the same. Check in areas where people go on for days without water. Oh yes, sewage: let us talk about that as well!
Posted: April 15, 2008, 08:46
Since 80 per cent of people in this country are expats, I feel this is justified. We should all abide to the rules and policies of the country.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 08:40
The new decision taken by Sewa will put the tenants with an average salary in great trouble. From one side, the daily living expenses are also going high and above, that if Sewa is also to increase the deposit, it will surely make most of the middle class families send their family back to their home country. I personally feel that the new decision is something which is very hard to digest.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 08:23
I stay in a flat with my family in a building in Sharjah but my bill was issued as commercial. They have put service charges on electricity, water and gas. It is a funny bill showing my consumption at Dh79 whereas the service charge is Dh200 for the whole month of April. I think it is tax in a so-called tax free country. All the tenants of my building are literally crying.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 08:13
I don't think it is necessary to increase the deposit amount. From the month of March they have increased service charges of Dh70 per month with a introduction of a slab that should somehow force people to use less water/electricity. I believe this is a contradiction on both the decisions.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 08:11
Well it is a very simple and easy way of raising funds without giving away anything. If Sewa take the same kind of amount from banks or by any other means of financing, they will have to pay the financing cost and the interest as well. Here they are just simply get the extra funds in the name of deposit.
Posted: April 15, 2008, 07:48
My father's salary is Dh4500 and we have a deposit of Dh6000. How we can manage to pay our school fees, telephone bill, pay the electricrity etc. Please, is our request to Gulf News, why do they not charge monthly instalments so we can mange if they ask for Dh1000 per month. We have no problem if they increase water from Dh300 to Dh900. Why pay the money directly?
Posted: April 15, 2008, 07:36