Sharjah: Notice a hike in your water and electricity bills this summer? Sharjah residents are complaining about a substantial raise in their monthly bills over the summer months.
In light of the large number of complaints, Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) said that there has been no change in the electricity and water charges over the summer despite residents’ claims that their bills have doubled.
A Sewa spokesperson from the Customer Service Department told Gulf News that a possible reason behind the increase in bills could be due to the increase in water and electricity consumption or as a result of an error in the readings even though the chance of error is very low.
“The hike in consumption is mostly as a result of the month of Ramadan as this situation arises every year during the holy month,” he said.
The increase in water and electricity consumption during summer months when schools are on vacation is also a trend that is witnessed every year, he added.
Sewa also confirmed that regular rates are being applied at 7.5 fils per kWh for electricity and 1.5 fils per gallon of water for Emiratis, , 30 fils per kWh, and 3 fils per gallon of water for expat residents and commercial use.
There is also a special tariff for industrial activity which is 40 fils per kWh for electricity, and 3 fils per gallon of water.
Sewa also clarified that water consumption for expat residents and commercial use is calculated on the basis of a slab system depending on the gallons of water used every month.
For residents, the first 6,000 gallons of water used is charged at 3 fils per gallon whereas the second 6,000 gallons used is charged at 3.5 fils per gallon. Consumption of over 12,000 gallons of water is charged at 4 fils per gallon.
For commercial consumption of water, the first 10,000 gallons is charged at 3 fils per gallon, whereas the second 10,000 gallons is charged at 3.5 fils per gallon. Consumption of over 20,000 gallons of water is charged at 4 fils per gallon.
No increase in consumption
Despite Sewa's assurances that the increase in bills is due to the increase in consumption, Sharjah residents insist that they have not changed their electricity and water consumption levels.
“Our previous bill for the month of July was just over Dh800, however this month the bill was doubled - it was over Dh1,600 and we definitely haven’t used more electricity or water this month,” said Sharjah resident Fatima Suhail.
Fatima added that after approaching Sewa and filing a consumer complaint at the Sewa office in Al Khaleej Mall, she was told that there was no fault in the meter and that the bill was based on her consumption throughout the month.
“Despite soaring temperatures, we use electricity sparingly and ensure that no switch, socket or electrical appliance is left on,” explained Fatima, adding that there have been no additional people living at her home.
Being one of many annoyed residents facing the same issue, Fatima said that all tenants in her building were left stunned after receiving their recent bill. “We had no choice but to pay the entire amount,” she added.
Hoping that the matter is investigated, Sewa has confirmed that they have received many complaints from Sharjah residents. “We have received complaints about this issue. These complaints are currently being considered by the concerned department to take the necessary action,” said the spokesperson at Sewa.
Sewa readings are taken on a monthly basis and the reading date is mentioned on the resident’s bills which are issued at the beginning of every month, he added.