Villa owners ‘cool’ alternative to chiller charges
A steep hike in chiller charges proposed for Dubai’s upscale Jumeirah Islands is forcing villa owners to look for alternative ways to cool their abodes.
A number of Jumeirah Islands villa owners have refused to sign up the new contract citing an unreasonable hike in proposed consumption charges – two-and-a-half times of last year’s charges.
Nakheel, the master developer of the upscale villa community, told owners recently it will be charging chiller at Dh1.40 per tonne of refrigeration an hour, instead of Dh0.563 per tonne it levied in 2011. It has, however, waived off the capacity charge of Dh1,250 per month.
One approach being followed by an increasing number of residents is to ditch the central-cooling apparatus altogether and, instead, install split air-conditioners in their villas.
This, maintain residents who have switched their cooling systems, has reduced their bills drastically.
“I have installed split A/Cs… the bills have been quite low for some months now. My chiller connection got disconnected since I was not paying and I don’t think I am going to apply for a reconnection,” said a villa owner who wished to remain anonymous.
Effective, January 1, 2012, Nakheel appointed Al Shirawi US Chillers to carry out routine daily operation and maintenance of cooling plants and distribution networks in Jumeirah Islands.
Faisal Baig, another villa owner, maintains that he is not going to sign the new contract. “The new company keeps sending me reminders… but I don’t want it. If I install air-conditioners, then I can reduce my bills,” he argues.
In a letter sent to owners in November 2011, Nakheel said that they had carried out a survey of comparative rates for district cooling services throughout Dubai and decided to charge the new rate in line with the charges billed by other district cooling companies in Dubai for similar-sized properties. It eliminated the capacity charges from their owners’ account.
“These new contractual agreements have been implemented to enable Nakheel to exercise better control over the quality of service provided to you,” the company had said in the letter.
A senior Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) official, however, claims owners can’t refuse to take chiller connection because of a hike in charges. “They have to abide by the contract they have signed,” he said.
Mohammed Khalifa bin Hammad, Senior Director, Real Estate Regulatory Agency (Rera) had told Emirates 24|7 earlier that the utility and chiller charges had led to an increase in service charges across Dubai.
“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.
Jumeirah Islands consists of 46 clusters within man-made islands spread across an area of 300 hectares. Each cluster comprises 16 individually styled villas.
The development is situated on east of the Sheikh Zayed Road, between Interchanges 5 and 6. The project comprises a total of 736, four and five-bedroom villas designed along four core themes.
The designs of the villas are portrayed under four core themes: Oasis; Islamic; European and Mediterranean. Lakes form such an integral part of the Jumeirah Islands, with a land to water ratio of 23/77, that it is believed to be the highest in the world, according to Nakheel website.
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