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Dewa charges: It's a bitter bill

Women go online and blow a fuse over unusually high meter readings

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11,000dirhams was the billreceived by breladefor september

Dubai: Flustered over the hike in their Dewa (Dubai Electricity and Water Authority) bills, a group of angry expatriate women have taken their grievances online.

More than 300 posts have been made on the website in recent weeks about the sharp jump in billing rates.

When XPRESS contacted a senior Dewa official, he said that the complaints would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The official said customers' concerns will be addressed: "Customers found to have been over-billed or have defective meters will be reimbursed."

Some of the women have complained that they have been sent bills charging more than double what they were originally paying even though in many cases they aren't using any more water or electricity than before.

Sarah Jane posted that she had received a Dh8,000 bill for her villa in the Meadows, which is occupied by two people. Last year, the charge per month was a quarter of that.

Bill questioned

"We have questioned the bill with Dewa and were told that our meter was changed 12 days ago …

"Anyway, we're playing the waiting game and seeing if they'll reduce the amount," she added.

"Just got mine for September It's Dh1,426 and it was Dh864 in August [2009]," TashaB wrote.

She said her bill had jumped from Dh1,800 to Dh2,500 in August, which was higher than for the same month last year. "My last bill was for over Dh6,611. No garden, out all day! Anyway chased Dewa tonight about my complaint and it's being reviewed such that I don't have to pay the bill by the deadline. Let's see. I could be living by candlelight if they cut me off!""

Arabian Ranches resident Brelade posted that although her October bill had gone down it had increased to Dh7,000 in August when it is usually Dh5,000.

"We were here for nearly all the summer - kids went back to school and September bill was Dh11,000 - we nearly died! Told Dewa - who told me that [there was] no increase on charges, but my consumption had gone up - it hadn't - it actually went down as kids were back at school! They say meter [was] working fine and that I will be charged for the privilege - but bill remains at Dh11,000," she said.