In spite of all efforts exerted by the Ministry of Electricity to collect the overdue power consumption bills of citizens which have accumulated over more than twenty or thirty years, the accumulation rate is higher than the collection rate, and a time will come when many consumers will not be able to pay their dues, and will ask the ‘Mama’ government to drop the charges.
I personally have trouble paying my bills, because there is no employee who accepts to collect my payment despite my frequent visits to the ministry. I wrote articles and said that on television, but no one cared what I said because of their inability to do anything amidst chaos perhaps experienced by the ministry, a problem which was caused by former senior officials who chose to leave the problem to those who will come after them.
In the meantime, we must pay tribute to the great efforts exerted by the Undersecretary of the Ministry Eng Mohammed Bushehri, but the burden is heavy, and what happens in the Ministry of Electricity occurs in the Ministry of Public Works and the Public Authority for Housing Welfare and other government agencies, as a result of silence about corruption and negligence.
The continued government subsidy for power consumption has resulted in massive waste by individuals and institutions and increased the use of precious energy resources in the production of electricity in Kuwait and other Gulf states, with few exceptions, in which these countries try to contain or correct the situation, but it is not so easy.
A World Energy Council (WEC) survey showed Kuwait as the world’s largest consumer of electricity, with an average household consumption of 40.4 kW, while in Sweden it was 7.8 and New Zealand 7.4.
When measuring energy consumption in the Gulf, we find Qatar’s per capita energy consumption is five times that of Germany. Although the average per capita consumption of energy in the United States is similar to that of Saudi Arabia, the Americans’ use of energy is not constantly rising, it is growing in consumption efficiency, and our problem in the Gulf is that we consume huge amounts of energy to feel comfortable, as in use of air conditioners, compared to countries with similar temperature, but their citizens consume half of what we consume.
The people of Arizona in the United States, for example, pay twice the price of electricity per kilowatt compared to expatriates in Abu Dhabi, and seven times what the citizen pays. Among the consequences of increased electricity consumption are the lack of thermally insulated dwellings and our overall lifestyles.
Desalination centers are the largest in consuming electricity, yet water is sold in our countries at low prices. I mentioned in an earlier article that if there was a private electricity company in Kuwait 80 years ago, and it was strict in collecting the due bills as it demanded payment within four days or the power would be cut off, with a warning not to connect it until after paying the bills.
Since the government seems to be unable to collect its rights so far, and there is no immediate solution looming on the horizon to the problem, the other option is to sell the entire sector to a company owned by all the citizens, with a share to the managing company, if the state wants to address this chronic sector, thus collect all dues in full, and provide better service to the citizens and residents, but the question that arises here: Is the government interested?
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf