Coronavirus Pandemic

Power bills in Covid-19 months: Here's how much UAE residents paid

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Sharjah Filed on September 16, 2020 | Last updated on September 16, 2020 at 06.23 am
Covid-19, power bills, how much, UAE residents, paid

(Alamy Image)

One family, who lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Sharjah, saw their monthly bill go as high as Dh3,600.

A number of UAE households were shocked as their power bills hit an all-time high during the last Covid-19 months, when work and school are done at home.

One family, who lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Sharjah, saw their monthly bill go as high as Dh3,600.

"I have three kids, and two of them have opted for the distance education programme. My wife is a homemaker, and my older son works at an advertising agency. In July, my electricity bill was Dh3,600. It has never been this high," said Shihabuddin CK, a real estate manager who lives in Sharjah's Al Nahda area.

In the same summer month last year, he paid only Dh2,200. Convinced that there must be a mistake, Shihabuddin had to check his neighbours and the building management. "It turned out that most people who were working and studying from home had to shell out huge amounts for utility bills," he said.

Other Sharjah residents who live in two-bedroom units told Khaleej Times that they have had to shell out anything between Dh1,700 and Dh2,200.

Residents who have central and window air-conditioning units are paying much more than those who have a chiller-free flat. Vivek M, an Indian expatriate who lives in Sharjah's Muwaeilah area said: "We have a three-bedroom apartment. Only my brother and I live in the unit, and we still see a 20 to 30 per cent increase in the bills."

Pandemic lifestyle

As Shihabuddin looked back on how the pandemic changed their family's lifestyle, he realised why their electricity bill shot through the roof.

"I am assuming it is because we are at home at all times. Our air-conditioner is switched on 24/7. All my kids have devices too," Shihabuddin said. He added that he plans to look for a chiller-free unit next year once his current tenancy contract expires.

He noted that his Dh3,600 bill was already discounted as the Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (Sewa) has rolled out a 10-per-cent reduction for all to help the community cope with the challenges arising from the pandemic.

70% increase in overall consumption

Sewa's latest statistics have shown that Shihabuddin's and Vivek's were not the only households that experienced an electricty bill shock.

The authority recently revealed that during the months when stay-home protocols were in place, residents' electricity and water consumption have increased by up to 70 per cent.

With the 10 per cent discount it offered to all, Sewa has had to shoulder Dh310 million in costs.

Dr Rashid Al Leem, chairman of Sewa, had earlier said that authority has been working on projects to raise public awareness about rationalising their consumption of electricity. 


Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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