Dubai: During summer months it is important to understand the process of obtaining the ideal chilled room you can peacefully drift away in. While in many residential areas in the UAE, your air-conditioning may be part of your water and electricity bill, in some newly developed communities, you may need to register with a district cooling company.
What are these district cooling companies, when do you need to apply for a connection with them and what does it entail? Here is all you need to know.
What is district cooling?
District cooling, also referred to as a chiller service, is typically used in high rise buildings, where a lot of electricity is consumed. Regular water or seawater is cooled in a central plant, then passed along underground pipelines around the district. Special units in each building proceed to use this cold water to reduce the temperature of the air leaving the air conditioning units. District cooling can run on either electricity or natural gas.
Some locations where you might find district cooling in Dubai, for example, are Dubai International Academic City, Business Bay, Discovery Gardens, Dubai Media City, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Jumeirah Beach Residence.
Also, it is important to note that whether your residence has district cooling or not, you still need to apply for an electricity and water connection when moving in. This is done through the utility service providers for each emirate, which are the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company (ADDC), the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Sharjah Electricity, Water and Gas Authority (SEWA), and Etihad Water and Electricity (Etihad WE – formerly known as the Federal Electricity and Water Authority - FEWA) in the Northern Emirates (Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah).
Chiller service or district cooling companies in the UAE
These are the various district cooling companies operating in the UAE:
Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (EMPOWER)
Dubai-based EMPOWER provides its chiller services in the following locations in Dubai:
• Deira Waterfront.
• Blue Waters Jumeirah.
• Jumeirah Beach Residence.
• Dubai International Financial Centre.
• Business Bay.
• Dubai Healthcare City.
• Jumeirah Lake Towers.
• Palm Jumeirah.
• Discovery Gardens.
• Ibn Battuta Mall.
• Dubai Design District.
• Dubai Production City.
• International Media Production Zone (IMPZ).
Emirates District Cooling (Emicool) LLC
Dubai-based Emicool provides chiller services in the following locations across the UAE:
• Fujairah Business Centre
• Palm Deira Islands
• Jumeirah Bay
• Mirdif Hills
• Route 2020
• Motor City
• Dubai Investment Parks 1 and 2
• Expo 2020
ADC Energy Systems LLC
In the UAE, ADC Energy Systems LLC supplies chiller services in:
• Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)
• Saraya Abu Dhabi Corniche Development
• Shams Abu Dhabi Modular
• Saadiyat Island
• West Bay
• Bawabat Al Sharq
• UAE University
• Palm Jumeirah Crescent
• Dubai Theme Parks
• Jumeirah Village Circle
• Dragon Mart Phase 2
• Dubai Investment Parks 3 and 6
Global Pacific Engineering & Contracting Co LLC (GPEC)
Sharjah-based GPEC’s projects include:
• Dubai South
• Jebel Ali
• Dubai World Trade Centre
Tabreed National Central Cooling Co
Abu Dhabi-based Tabreed provides chiller services for the following locations across the UAE:
• Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
• Cleveland Clinic
• Ferrari World
• Burj Mohammad Bin Rashid
• The World Trade Centre
• ALDAR HQ
• St. Regis Nation Towers
• Sun & Sky Towers
• Etihad Towers
• Yas Waterworld
• The Ritz-Carlton Hotel
• Downtown Dubai
• Dubai Metro
• Shangri-La Hotel
Chiller service charges
If you do happen to move in to a location that requires you to register for a chiller service, you will need to consider the separate monthly cost to stay on top of your budget, as the chiller fee will be additional to your electricity and water supply.
There are also additional costs involved such as security deposits and connection fees, which are one-time costs you will need to factor in. Security deposit amounts vary according to the size of your home (the number of bedrooms), and whether it is an apartment or a villa.
When it comes to paying your bill at the end of each month, instead of paying directly to the district cooling company, you may come across a third-party service provider. These are metering and billing service providers, which are hired by property management companies, to make the usage calculations and generation of bills an easier process.
The chiller-free option
While looking for a new home, you may come across property listings that state that the unit has a ‘chiller-free’ option. What this means is that while you may still need to apply for a new connection for the chiller service, the property management company will cover the monthly costs. So, for example, the tenants of chiller-free flats in Dubai only have to pay the DEWA bill, without the need to pay for the air conditioning. This option is provided by some real estate companies to attract new tenants, and may be a point to even negotiate with a potential landlord, if you are looking to get a better housing deal.