KUWAIT: The Ministry of Electricity and Water (MEW) has decided that every apartment in Kuwait must have its own water meter to avoid problems that lead to cuts because of disputes between the building's owner and residents. Sources said this comes after a comprehensive study, and will make the consumers pay for the amount of water they use. This will also pave the way for MEW to install smart meters at a later stage, this providing an easier way for the ministry to charge consumers under new tariffs. MEW had already announced placing a tender to install smart meters for electricity at apartment buildings.

Last April, the parliament passed a bill allowing the government to hike electricity and water charges for expatriates after completely excluding Kuwaiti citizens. The application of the new charges will not take effect before September 2017.

According to the law, the hike in electricity and water tariffs applies to apartment buildings (expatriates only), the commercial sector, industrial and agricultural sectors and government offices. It applies after one year on commercial activities which will be charged a flat rate of 25 fils per kilowatt. On government offices, it applies after 18 months and after 21 months on industrial and agricultural activities.

The new charges will be hiked for expatriates from the current 2 fils per kilowatt to the following:

1- Five fils per kilowatt for the first 1,000 kilowatts.

2- 10 fils per kilowatt for between 1,000 and 2,000 kW.

3- 15 fils per kilowatt for consumption above 2,000 kW.

The consumption is calculated on a monthly basis. Current average monthly charges for a medium-size apartment is around KD 5-7. But under the new charges, the monthly bill in summer months, when air-conditioning does not stop, could easily hit above KD 50 depending on consumption.

In summer months (May-September) the monthly consumption of medium-sized apartments is roughly around 3,000 kW. This means the bill will be KD 30. If consumption rises to 4,000 kW, the bill will be KD 45 and so on. In winter months, the rate will remain around KD 5 or slightly above that, also depending on consumption.

By A Saleh