Skycourts owners call for dialogue over charges

Owners of units in Skycourts project in Dubailand, which has over 2,800 units, have renewed a call to the developer to enter into a dialogue over the what they claim are sky-high capacity and cooling charges.

"My cooling bill alone for November-December - during winter - was Dh750. In summer this goes up to Dh1,400 or more. Add to that another Dh600 for Dewa and I have to pay anywhere from Dh1,250 to Dh2,000 per month just for utilities. This is not reasonable for a 2-bedroom unit. Before moving to Skycourts, I lived in a 3-bedroom double-storeyed villa with 6 split A/C units and my Dewa bill was maximum Dh1,000 during peak summer," one of the residents told Emirates 24|7.

A representative of Alpha Utilities Management, the company providing chilled water to Skycourts, however, rejected the owners' call for dialogue.

In a statement, the company stated: “This is not possible because the charges are vetted and found reasonable in comparison to different district cooling service providers within other similar projects in the UAE.

“There is no issue as the charges are calculated accurately according to the capacity allocation and readings of the meters of each apartment in-line with the standard market practice. Furthermore, notices have been communicated to all the defaulting owners to alert them about their liabilities and provide them with amicable time to settle their dues.”

Last week, some of the owners submitted a joint letter to National Bonds Corporation, the developer of the Dh1.6 billion Skycourts project, appealing them to put an end to the issue.

“We are ready to pay any amount provided it is justified through audited facts and figures,” the letter stated.

Owners denied having received notices and said, a day after the letter was submitted to National Bonds Corporation, the developer of the project, cooling was disconnected in some 300 units. However, it was reconnected a few hours later.

Alpha admits disconnections happened, but the number is far less than owners claim. “Only a small number of units (which is much less than the quoted number) have been disconnected due to accumulated non-payment,” the company said.

Owners have been seeking a dialogue with the company, saying they are not against paying “reasonable and justified” charges. In February 2012, as well, they had put forward their concern over the chiller charges.

Mohammed Khalifa bin Hammad, Senior Director, Real Estate Regulatory Agency has told this website that though maintenance charges have reduced, high utility and chiller charges have led to an increase in service charges.

In certain projects, electricity and chiller charges almost constitute 50 per cent of the total service charges.

“We have tried our level best to reduce maintenance fees, but all our efforts are hampered by the rising cost of utilities and chiller charges. We have taken up the issue with the respective agencies,” he had said.

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