MUSCAT – Taking stock of the rising number of consumer complaints against alleged inflated electricity bills, the Authority of Public Services Regulation (APSR) has stated that the electricity bills for May and June will be recomputed, media reports noted yesterday.
Discrepancies, if any, will be rectified and excess amounts will be credited to the following month’s bill, the APSR said, after revealing that it has received between 5000 to 7000 complaints of inflated bills.
Don’t disconnect power
Also, distributing companies will not disconnect power to subscribers with pending bills. Moreover, they can pay the bills in installments. This news has brought in major relief among consumers, many of whom were at the receiving end of inflated bills.
Embarked on a study
Speaking at a press conference held at the ministry of information on Monday, Dr Mansoor Talib Al-Hinai, chairman of APSR, affirmed that the authority is embarked on a study of a programme to reorient subsidy to the electricity sector in coordination with the departments concerned. The assessment showed the need to introduce some amendments to the current electricity tariff structure, he revealed.
Aim: to limit waste
Al-Hinai said that the authority studies the performance of licensed companies on a regular basis. The aim is to limit waste, enhance corporate security and monitor indices of subscriber services, as well as the firms’ investment activities.
Al-Hinai referred to what he described as “continuous revision to understand the impacts of high cost of electricity on some economic sectors, including the agricultural sector and the small and medium enterprises sector.”
Fixed tariff price
The APSR chairman said that the tariff for the first category is 12 baisas, the second 16bz and the third 27bz. He added that the rate of 12 baisas has been endorsed as the fixed tariff price all over summer months (March to September).
People with low income to benefit
People with low income will benefit significantly from the introduction of these new categories (as much as 1,000 units), besides an estimated 33 percent overall reduction. He pointed out that the Authority took a decision in October 2020 to solve the problem of meter reading: It instructed electricity distribution companies to install “remote reading meters” and “advance payment meters”, while at the same time allowing citizens to choose which option best fits their situation.
Shift to digital, please
Al Hinai urged all to shift to digital meters due to their accuracy and ability to store readings. He also underscored the importance of firms’ adhering to service quality. The Authority imposes fines on non-abiding companies, one of which got an OMR 10-million ticket.
Oman best for solar, wind power
Speaking in detail, Al Hinai explained that the total cost of the electricity sector lies in power production (57 percent), capital cost (27 percent and operational cost (16 percent). He said that the authority sold a portion of power (100 megawatt) within the context of the GCC Electricity Linkage Grid to meet the demand for electrical power in some countries. Al Hinai said that Oman figures among the best places in the region for the generation of solar power and wind power. He added that solar power is set to become one of the most significant options for alternative energy in future due to its ability to cut down the cost of electrical power generation.
(With inputs from Oman News Agency)