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| 09 April, 2017

Kuwait minister denies power cut threat

Reports being circulated online are baseless and lack credibility

Image for illustrative purposes.
Camels graze around power grid towers in the Kuwaiti desert .

Image for illustrative purposes. Camels graze around power grid towers in the Kuwaiti desert .

REUTERS/Stephanie McGehee

Sunday, Apr 09, 2017

Manama: Kuwait’s electricity and water minister has denied reports that power will be cut off from residential homes if owners failed to pay their bills.

“The reports being circulated online are baseless and lack credibility,” Esam Al Marzooq said.

“There are specific procedures that the ministry has been following since 2012 regarding arrears in the payment of bills. The ministry warns those who fail to pay three times and if the home owner still does not pay, then the water supply is cut off. The ministry does not cut off the power supply in any case,” he said in remarks reported by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Sunday., “The ministry has never cut off electric power from residential homes and will not do it,” the ministry’s assistant undersecretary for consumers’ affairs, Meshaan Al Utaibi, said.

Those who have accumulated arrears of 3,000 Kuwaiti dinars have been warned, he added.

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The denials were issued after online sites claimed that the ministry would halt power supply to the homes of those who did not pay their bills and that it would start with Al Jahra, an area to the northwest of the capital Kuwait City.

Four lawmakers reacted to the statement attributed to the minister by warning that they would grill him at the parliament.

They warned that if the statement was true, the minister would be held accountable.

The Kuwaiti government has been struggling to collect arrears in electricity and water that have been unpaid by private citizens, ministries and businesses.

In December, the electricity and water ministries urged all ministries and public agencies not to conduct any transaction for anyone if they do not prove they had paid their bills, according to Al Qabas daily.

The move is part of a drive to collect some of the KD235 million owed to the ministry.

Residential homes make up the bulk with KD187 million in arrears. The commercial sector has to pay eight million dinars in arrears while the industrial sector and the agricultural sector must pay four million and three million dinars respectively.

Government ministries and agencies have electricity and water arrears of up to KD 27.5 million.

BY Habib Toumi Bureau Chief

Gulf News 2017. All rights reserved.