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Expats in Kuwait may face hike in electricity charges

The Ministry of Electricity and Water team briefed the National Assembly Financial and Economic Affairs Committee about plans to hike electricity charges, and as per this indication, expatriate households are likely to be affected the most if the hikes are approved.

The Ministry has divided its plans into four categories targeting private homes, which implies mostly Kuwaitis; investment houses which refer to buildings, majority of which, are inhabited by expats; commercial and industrial.

As far as expats are concerned, electricity charges are 2 fils per kilowatt for all purposes, uses and houses. The Ministry team has proposed to increase charges for investment houses (majority being expatriates) as: First 1000 kilowatt: 5 fils pe kilowatt; Second 1000 kilowatt: 8 fils per kilowatt; Third 1000 kilowatts: 10 fils per kilowatt.

This implies that if a house in an investment building consumes 3000 kilowatt a month, the bill would be KD23 for the month, in place of the current charges of KD6. If the consumption is less than 1000, the bill would be just KD5. The charges for consumption of 2000 kilowatt would be KD13 and so on.

However, for private houses (mostly Kuwaitis), the increases are: First 3000 kilowatts: 3 fils per kilowatt; Second 3000 kilowatts: 8 fils per kilowatt; Third 3000 kilowatts: 10 fils per kilowatt. This implies that private houses that consume 9000 kilowatt a month will pay KD63 rather than KD18 at present.

The increase in charges for commercial use is now 19 fils per kilowatt, while for industrial use it is 2 fils per kilowatt.

The Head of Financial and Economic Affairs Committee, MP Faisal Al Shaye mentioned that a deal is not yet reached on the proposals so far, and another meeting would be held this weekend. The focus is to reduce consumption rather than boost revenues, he pointed out.

Shaye also said that the committee will not agree to any measures that are likely to harm low and mid-income sectors. In  the previous meeting several other alternatives financially and technically have been discussed on raising electricity charges, and added that the government has the right to make proposals, but, the decision made by the National Assembly would be the ultimate one.

According to a law passed by the Assembly two decades ago, the government has no right to increase any charges on public services without prior approval of the Assembly, and this includes electricity, water and other services, except fuels.

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