Cool off

I feel sorry for these people.

We have been in the same situation. When we bought our apartment, we were told the service fee would be 8Dhs per square foot. Later it rocketed to 35Dhs per square foot, then came down a bit…. and then went up a bit when we discovered all they had done was split out the cold air fee into a separate invoice.

As the article makes clear – tough luck, investor. You have no choice but to pay up.

We pay 8,160Dhs a year for our ‘cold air’. I haven’t lived in a villa in Dubai, so I’m not sure what you’d pay in terms of power costs if you were running your AC units off the mains, but I would expect it to be less than we are paying in our apartment.

What’s galling is having this fee simply added on to your bill at a random date, with no warning, as happened with us and as has happened to the owners in the development mentioned in the article.

What’s most annoying is the ‘flat fee’ approach – everyone pays the same per square foot, regardless of what you use. In 2010, this is plainly an idiotic way to handle something as energy intensive as air conditioning.

Our development, as with others, has no way at all of measuring what people use and then charging them appropriately. The result is a completely unfair flat rate that encourages wasteful behaviour, resentment and a general desire to stand on your balcony and scream with rage at the way property is managed here.

On top of the flat rate you have to pay, the buildings are inevitably badly insulated – common areas happily spew cold air out through gaps in doors that don’t close properly, or leak it skywards through roofs that aren’t insulated.

A sad state of affairs – incredibly short sighted.

At some point, I’m sure that metering will be introduced. I wonder who’ll bear the cost of implementing that? I had better start saving up for the metering implementation fee. In the meantime, I’ll just sit on my balcony in the 40C heat with the door open, enjoying the nice cool breeze from inside.

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