The UAE has no plans to raise electricity and water rates and is still heavily subsidising the sector despite a surge in oil and gas prices over the past few months, an electricity official was reported on Sunday as saying.
The official was reacting to complaints by UAE citizens in Umm Al Quwain that bills they have received recently were much higher.
“There was no increase in such bills and the UAE is still shouldering the gap between sale prices and product costs despite the sharp increase in diesel and gas prices in global markets,” said Mohammed Saleh, director general of the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa).
“The authority is still extending direct financial subsidy to diesel, which totalled nearly Dh27 billion till the end of last year,” he told the semi official daily Alittihad.
Saleh said the authority has been locked in projects to expand power production through the UAE at a cost of nearly Dh500 million, adding this would boost capacity to around 4,000 MG by 2013.
“These projects are aimed to ensure supplies to meet a projected annual growth of around six per cent during that period,” he said.
Alittihad said Saleh was reacting to public complaints in Umm Al Quwain about a sharp rise in water and electricity bills. It quoted Mohammed Yousuf, a resident of the city, as saying he had paid an average Dh400-500 a month for such bills in previous months but bills in March soared to Dh800.
“I went to the authority and told me that there was an increase in my consumption not in the rate and that all metres are working properly,” he said.
In Abu Dhabi, authorities said power and water rates have not recorded any increase for years and this boosted production costs above rates paid by the public, according to Alittihad.
It quoted officials at the organization and control office, which oversees the water and power sector in Abu Dhabi, as saying nationals currently pay five fils per kw of electricity while expatriates pay 15 fils per KW. As for water, nationals are not charged for consumption while foreigners pay only Dh2.2 per cubic metre.
“The Government subsidy for water and electricity services in Abu Dhabi accounts for nearly 86 per cent for nationals and 50 per cent for expatriates,” the paper quoted a statement by the office as saying.