Most expats unhappy over hike in electricity charges – ‘Unfair … No option but to pay’

In this week’s Arab Times online poll, readers shared their reaction to the hike in electricity charges for expatriate housing.

Last week, Kuwait’s Parliament passed a bill allowing the government to raise power and water charges on foreign residents and on businesses but exempted citizens. In light of the plunging price of oil and its impact on revenues, the Kuwait government has been looking for ways to cut spending by the removal of subsidies and the curbing of consumption.

Electricity charges will be raised for expatriates from the current flat rate of two fils per kilowatt gradually to up to 15 fils per kilowatt.

A majority of expatriate poll respondents, 41%, shared that they were resigned to the fact and were left with no option but to pay. “I think it is unfair to charge expatriates one price and Kuwaitis another. We are using the same resource and we are all, Kuwaitis and expatriates, working towards the betterment of the country. Unfortunately, expatriates have no one to lobby for them so we have to live with whatever law they pass, however unjust it may seem”, a voter shared.

“I agree with the government’s decision to increase prices. I think there is a lot of waste and overconsumption of energy in this country. But the law should be applied to everyone, citizens and expatriates. Why would you not want your citizens to value utilities?”, another reader commented.

31% of the voters felt that the government must take into consideration the harsh summers of Kuwait. “In the hot summer months, air conditioning is a necessity, it is not optional and something you can skimp on. The government should factor this in to their decision and pricing.”

Another 17% of the respondents shared that expatriates would now have to look out for ways to save energy. “I think the market is going to see a great surge in demand for energy efficient appliances and expatriates will have to find inventive ways to bring down their consumption”, a voter noted.

7% of voters felt that the price hike would not affect them as much because they don’t consume much electricity and another 5% of voters pointed out that electricity bills were much higher in other GCC countries like UAE and Qatar. “I don’t spend too many hours at home. I sometimes work up to 12 hours in the office. I don’t think the price hike will affect those who work long hours or spend most of their time outside their flats,” a reader remarked.

By Cinatra Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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