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Sharjah residents in shock over Sewa bill

By Lina Abdel Rahman and Hani M Bathish / 10 September 2004

SHARJAH — Electricity and water bills for the month of August have been reported exorbitantly high by many Sharjah residents, many of whom queued up yesterday morning at the complaints desk of one of the branch offices of the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) to enquire and complain about their bills.

Layla, a resident of Sharjah, was at the branch to pay her monthly electricity and water bill as she does each month without fail. But today she also came to enquire about the high amount in her bill, which exceeded Dh800.

“At first glance I thought I wasn’t seeing straight, I could not believe the amount written, my electricity and water bill never used to exceed Dh550, even during the summer, so I assumed it was a mistake. When I asked the watchman in our building he told me that all the tenants had complained to him about the same thing. I think there must be a mistake, I was out of town for at least 10 days during August and I am at work for most of the day otherwise,” she said.

Khalid Yousri, another resident of Sharjah, who lives alone and usually receives bills that range between Dh300 to Dh400, said: “This month I received a bill for Dh950. Although I am a single individual living at home and most of the day I am at work, I was surprised to receive such an amount which is unjustifiable and when I went to discuss my problem at one of Sewa branches I was told that the amount billed was for two months, how could it be so when I am paying my bills on a monthly basis.”

Riyad, a long time resident of Sharjah, was waiting to make a complaint at the complaints desk. He said: “My bill for August was over Dh850, which is highly unusual. A relation of mine also got a big amount on his Sewa bill for the month of August and told me that the authority deducted some of the billed amount out of his water charges since he was out of town for most of the month.”

According to a Sewa official who spoke to Khaleej Times on condition of anonymity, when people return from their long summer vacation they expect to receive reasonably low electricity and water bills as there was no consumption, but they get shocked when faced with a large amount which they assume must be erroneous or inaccurate.

“Every year we face the same problem as people do not read their bills carefully, people should read the date when the meter reading was taken before complaining about the value.

“For those who were out of town during the billing month but still were levied with a huge amount, they can bring their passports or any other documentation that can prove they were out of town in that time period,” the official said.

Shakeela Zaheer complained that she got an unjustifiably high amount billed to her Sewa account this month: “There is a drastic difference between the bill received at the end of July and the new bill. My last month’s bill was around Dh140 while the bill for August was around Dh600.

“As we are a family of four with two young children we usually use one window AC and not more. When we are the same individuals living in the same place with a steady and unchanging consumption of power how can there be such a big difference from one month to the next,” she wondered.

 

 

 

 

 
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