Discovery cooling could be cut today

Discovery Gardens building (All pictures by Parag Deulgaonkar)

Hundreds of residents of Buildings no. 53 and 184 in Discovery Gardens, a master community in Dubai, are hoping Palm District Cooling (PDC) does not implement their threat to disconnect the chilled water supply today, putting them to live with air conditioning for, may be, days to come.

“I am not sure if all the people (defaulters) have paid their dues. We are just hoping that they (PDC) does not disconnect the chilled water supply to our building,” Sumya R, a resident of building no. 53, told ‘Emirates24|7’.

“I am not sure how we are going to cope with this heat. Yesterday, we shut our air conditioning off to see whether we can manage. We could in the morning, but it started to become hot afternoon. It is difficult to stay at home without air conditioning for 24 hours,” he said.

Some residents, fearing there would be disconnection, have already purchased pedestal fans.

“I bought two fans yesterday… if our air conditioning does not work from April 20, we at least have the fans to use,” said Puran, a resident of 53.

Emirates 24|7 reported on Saturday, hundreds of residents of Buildings no. 53 and 184 in Discovery Gardens, a master community in Dubai, will have to live without air conditioning from April 20 onwards if all service charge dodgers fail to pay their dues to the district cooling company.

In a notice posted on the main entrance of the buildings, Palm District Cooling (PDC), the chilled water provider to the 291 buildings in Discovery Gardens for air conditioning, said: “We write to urgently bring to your attention the fact that there is owing on your account which has been outstanding for a period in excess of your agreed payment terms set out in your agreement.

“As per the notice on your invoice submitted to you this is in breach of your payment terms. You are therefore hereby notified that if the 30 plus days outstanding amount is not settled in full by 19th April 2014 our services will be disconnected on 20th April 2014.

“Please note that in case of disconnection the reconnection service will only be done once the full outstanding amount on the property including the reconnection charges is being settled as out in the agreement,” PDC said.

In a reminder notice on April 16, Nakheel Facilities and Owners Association Management said: “There are a number of unit owners in your building who have failed to pay the service charge resulting in huge arrears. Thus, your building has no sufficient funds to pay even the utility charges. The list of units with outstanding service charges has been made available in the notice board of your building.”

The notice added: “Nakheel Facilities and Owners Association Management assume no responsibility for the inconveniences that may be caused to the residents due to disruption of services as a result of non-payment.”

Why penalize all?

Ali, an angry resident of building no 184, said: “Some landlords may not have paid the service charges, but the district cooling company is penalizing all of us.

“Why they are threatening to disconnect the chilled water supply to the entire building and not of the individual apartments who are defaulters,” he questioned.

Juliana, a mother-of-two in building no 53, said: “Its summer. I am not sure how we will live in our house with air conditioning. We have paid our rent and our landlord has paid the service charge to Nakheel, which includes chilled water charge.”

A few residents of the building said in case of disconnection they would be lodging a police complaint.

Pay to avoid disconnection

In an emailed statement sent to Emirates24|7, Empower, which acquired PDC in January this year, said: "PDC provides reliable and consistent district cooling services to key developments in Dubai, and as a public utilities provider, we have followed standard procedures within the utilities sector and notified them for disconnection of services due to non-payment.

“We have given the home owner's association of building #184 in the Discovery Gardens ample time to fulfill their responsibilities as a customer and we encourage them to clear the outstanding payment to avoid disconnection and rectify this situation.”

Apartment owners in Discovery Gardens have been paying chiller charges, which range between Dh5 and Dh7 per square feet, as part of the annual service charge.

In 2013, Nakheel Owner’s Association Management had said that the BTU meters will allow consumption based billing for all tenants to pay for their own chiller water energy consumption (AC) and will ensure fair and accurate billing and enhance cost awareness.

Read: Chiller meters will save Discovery Gardens residents Dh123,000 per year

The association stated that the installation of meters will trigger energy saving and the buildings will become more environment friendly with potential savings of 15 to 30 per cent of total consumption proven.

On an average the total cost of cooling a building on is Dh410,000 per year and the new move can allow buildings to save nearly Dh61,500 to Dh123,000 per year in energy costs.

Discovery Gardens, a master community consisting of 291 buildings, has over 20,000 apartments, which today is over 90 per cent occupied.

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