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Expatriate Health Insurance News: Expats in UAE to face utility bill rises from January

The electricity and water bills of expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are to rise between 14 and 17 per cent from January.

Non-Emirati residential households that get their utilities from the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) will be affected by the increase.

Fewa told Gulf News: "The primary motivation for the changes was a realisation that, on average, the UAE, per capita, consumes twice as much water and electricity as the international average per individual.

"Our goal, as such, is to ensure that this difference is reduced by at least 20 per cent over the coming three years, and the breakdown will be divided accordingly."

Expats in the Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain, and Al Dhaid and Dibba zones can all expect to pay more in the New Year.

Unlike in the UK when energy bills are at their highest in winter, the climate in the UAE means that summer is when people use their air conditioning at a high level to try and cool their properties down, using more electricity.

As well as residential expats, commercial, industrial and governmental sectors will be hit by the rises.

The new charges are part of Fewa's three-year conservation plan to reduce water and power waste.

On average, individual electricity consumption in the UAE is 20 to 30 kilowatt hours, compared to seven to 15 kilowatt hours internationally, Fewa states.

Such excesses are also seen with water, as average consumption is 550 litres in the UAE and 170-300 litres elsewhere.

Mohammad Saleh, director general at Fewa, said: "The problem is compounded with the upward trend of consumption, which necessitated an urgent halt of this bleeding of resources and the maintaining of energy security in our country."

The company has also said that it will target students and housewives with awareness campaigns in order to make them the cornerstones of conservation in the UAE.

Meanwhile, it will be the expats and not the Emiratis who feel the impact of the price rises in January.

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