The palatial SEWA head office in Al Khan Image Credit: Xpress/Karen Dias

Sharjah: New Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) customers will be charged security deposits according to their utilities consumption — not the fixed rate currently used for existing clients, a senior official said.

Last month Sharjah residents received notices from Sewa demanding security deposit payments that ranged from Dh3,000 to Dh4,500, according to the notifications.

However, Ebrahim Rashid Al Deemas, Deputy Director-General of Sewa, told Gulf News that only new customers, those who have never used Sewa services or did not have a rental contract in Sharjah previously, will be charged deposits under the new system.

Under this system, new customers will pay a deposit according to their utilities consumption, he said.

Payment history

Asked how Sewa will calculate the utility consumption of a new customer, he said this will be based on estimates. "The electricity consumption for air conditioners is known and for bulbs it's 100 watts, so we can make estimates. We can also compare with the consumption of the opposite apartment. After some time, we can adjust the estimate according to the actual average usage."

Sewa began sending these notices at the beginning of the year, he added. The deposit is not charged according to the number of rooms rented.

If existing tenants move to new apartments they can ask Sewa to move their existing deposit onto the new contract — only if they have already paid their deposit for their current apartment and have a good payment history, he said.

If records show that they have been inconsistent in making payments, then the security deposit for the new contract will be charged according to their utility consumption.