Electricity bills for May and June to be recalculated in Oman

Smart digital meters will help to solve complaints in meter readings

  
Smart energy meter. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Smart energy meter. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Getty Images

Muscat: In a major relief to the people, the electricity bills for May and June will be recalculated, and in case there is an increase in the bill, the excess amount will be credited to the following month’s bill, said Authority of Public Services Regulation (APSR) after it received 5,000 -7,000 complaints of inflated bills.

It also assured that distribution companies won’t disconnect power to subscribers whose bills are pending. Subscribers can now pay bills in instalments instead of one go. Many people were shocked by their electricity bills having doubled, or even tripled, in recent months.

In a press conference on Monday, the Authority of Public Services Regulation Chairman Dr Mansoor al Hinai also unveiled a new tariff structure, which will significantly benefit lower-income segments.

He said high electricity bills are caused by the subsidy redirection program and the authority has appealed to the government to reconsider the electricity subsidy directive.

For Omanis, the first slab of 0-4,000 units will be at a rate of 12 baisas per unit; the second from 4001-6,000 at 16 baisas; and above 6,000 units at 27 baisas.

This is part of the government’s vision and its keenness to ensure the water and power subsidy for eligible groups, which was announced in December 2020 within the financial balance plan medium-term (2020-2024). Generally, the assessment seeks to alleviate burdens on the whole society in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

STANDS BY STAKEHOLDERS

Speaking to the Observer, Dr. Al Hinai, said that the authority has directed the distribution companies to suspend service cuts in the summer months and to bring relief to customers reeling under-inflated bills.

"APSR stands by its stakeholders and we are here to protect the interests of the individuals, industry, and agriculture sectors. We would like to assure all citizens that we, from time to time, review the mechanisms and performance of the electricity sector to ensure its efficiency and that the subsidy redirection programme achieves its set objectives," Dr. Al Hinai said.

AGRICULTURE

"The Authority is currently evaluating some other tariffs related to economic and agricultural activities to ensure their compatibility with the current economic and societal conditions," the chairman said

Last year, the losses in the main connected network were up to 24 per cent, and with the efforts of companies and those in charge of the sector, it was reduced to 9.8 percent. Companies that violate the authority’s decisions will be fined, and this will reduce electricity costs, according to the APSR. Various companies have been fined for violating the decisions. There are companies that were fined RO 10 million.

“The focus of the authority’s attention is the citizen, and the authority’s doors are open to receive your suggestions and complaints, and this is part of our work in providing service to the citizen and easing the burdens,” Al Hinai said.

The Sultanate has a surplus in electricity output and through the common GCC grid, it has been exporting power to countries because they have a deficit. The authority has sold 100 megawatts to the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA).

SMART METERS

Smart digital meters will help to solve complaints in meter readings, according to the APSR chairman. “The companies are currently working on implementing smart digital meters."

Users will have a choice between remote reading meters or prepaid meters, considering that this is a radical solution to resolve complaints on readings,” Dr. Al Hinai said.

The current tariff does not reflect the real cost of electricity, because it is subsidized and does not include generation costs and others. The total costs of the electricity sector consist of energy production costs of 57 percent, capital costs of 27 percent, and operating costs of 16 percent.

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