Chiller deadline... but Discovery stays 'cool'
Residents of building no 53 and 184 in Discovery Gardens, a master community in Dubai, were spared of having to live their days ahead without air-conditioning as the district cooling company did not implement their threat of disconnecting chilled water supply on Sunday.
“It was such a stressful day for us as we were not sure when the air-conditioning would be turned off. However, it never happened,” Sumya R, a resident of building no. 53, told ‘Emirates24|7’.
She, however, asserted: “We cannot stay like this forever… we are not sure when the district cooling company may turn off the water supply. We should know what they plan to do.”
Ali, a resident of building no 184, said: “We had someone deliver the notices once again to us. Thankfully, they have not disconnected… the chiller is on.”
On Sunday, we reported that hundreds of residents of Buildings no. 53 and 184 were hoping Palm District Cooling (PDC) would not implement their threat to disconnect chilled water supply on Sunday.
“I am not sure if all the people (defaulters) have paid their dues. We are just hoping that they (PDC) do not disconnect the chilled water supply to our building,” Sumya R said.
“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 after noon. It is difficult to stay at home without air-conditioning for 24 hours,” she said.
Some residents, fearing there would be disconnection, have already purchased pedestal fans.
“I bought two fans yesterday… if our air-conditioning did not work from April 20, we at least have the fans to use,” said Puran, a resident of 53.
In a notice posted on the main entrance of the buildings on April 8, 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 April 19, 2014 our services will be disconnected on April 20, 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 out as 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 without 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 lodge 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.
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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