Abu Dhabi cuts consumption with new utility bills

Experts say more must be done to encourage users to slash consumption

Raising awareness of consumption is good but incentives are needed to change behaviours. Photo: Shutterstock.
Raising awareness of consumption is good but incentives are needed to change behaviours. Photo: Shutterstock.

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Last week saw the roll out of Abu Dhabi’s new format utility bills, aimed at encouraging users to cut consumption. Masdar said raising awareness to consumers about how they used energy would reduce consumption levels in the long term.

The new bills indicate the government subsidy and in addition, residents will have two consumption bands indicating an ideal-average and above ideal-average range of consumption. Residents in the UAE are among the highest per capita water users in the world, consuming an average of 550 litres per day.

"Empowering the customers with added information and bringing about awareness is the key to managing consumption levels and thereby helping in the reduction of energy and water consumption," said Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, director, Sustainability, Masdar. “Masdar commends this transparency in sharing information that the Abu Dhabi Government has adopted through the roll out of the new format utility bills which will in time ensure long-term positive change in energy & water consumption,” she added.

The bills have been launched in time for summer as this is the peak consumption period. Mohammed Bin Jarsh, deputy MD of Abu Dhabi Distribution Company, said: "peak summer demand drives a core part of the sector’s costs and it is consumer behaviour at this time of year we need to influence."

While Techem Energy Services Middle East agrees that the move is significant in making end-users aware of consumption behaviour, Mr Altmann, regional manager, believes more can be done to encourage change, including rewarding users for "sensitive energy consumption."

"A more conscious behaviour of energy consumption encourages users to save if they get penalised for excessive energy consumption," he said. "The highest energy demand is generated by air conditioning. A solution for buildings which are cooled by centralised chillers is to allocate the energy costs fairly and transparently based on the consumption of each resident.

"Each year, we measure and allocate cooling, water and heating costs amounting to [over $3bn]. Our devices and services demonstrably reduce energy and water consumption up to 25%. That is because precise measuring and billing based on the actual consumption increases the awareness and creates an incentive and a reward for the careful use of cooling, heat and water," he said.

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