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Saudi Shoura members to ask regulator to reverse rising electricity bills

Saudi Shoura members to ask regulator to reverse rising electricity bills

Some members say electricity bills are 10 times higher than they were last year

Members of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council are set to ask the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA) to intervene to reverse recent rises in electricity bills.

Saudi Gazette reports that the council’s committee on economy and energy discussed the rising prices on Sunday, which were described as very “tough” on citizens.

Member Abdullah Bin Rashid Al-Khalidi said bills were up tremendously in June, a month where air conditioning use typically increases due to rising temperatures, compared to the same month last year.

Utility Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has reportedly said bills have increased by around 67 per cent year-on-year.

The complaints come following changes to electricity tariffs introduced at the start of the year alongside higher fuel prices and a 5 per cent value added tax, which applies to utility bills.

Read: Saudi to increase electricity, fuel prices in Q1

“Electricity charges have increased 10 times and now it has become impossible for ordinary citizen to bear the increased burden on their pockets,” Al-Khalidi was quoted as saying.

He added that social support payments under the Citizen’s Account system introduced late last year were not enough to cover the increase and asked SEC to reconsider its consumption tariffs.

Read: Saudi makes first $533m payment to social support scheme

The Shoura Council will discuss an ECRA report on Tuesday and forward its findings to the authority.

The Shoura committee on economy and energy’s chairman Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid has proposed asking the regulator directly to reconsider the new bills and return to the oil tariff, according to Saudi Gazette.

“The ECRA should address the supreme authority to reduce the tariff which has become extremely high for the ordinary people to bear,” he was quoted as saying.

He forecast that bills would increase further in July and August as temperatures continue to rise.

Another member, Saeed Bin Qsim Al-Khalidi Al-Malki, said the bill had exceeded monthly housing rent of SAR1,500 ($400).

“There are areas where the ACs should be on 24 hours a day because they are extremely hot,” he was quoted as saying.

The ECRA has received more than 5,000 complaints of rising bills.

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