Bahrain electricity and water authority defends drive to recover dues

January 12, 2011

The electricity and water authority has defended its drive to recover some of the money due by consumers who have fallen behind in their payment of the bills.

“The arrears in electricity and water bills have reached BD62 million (Dh605.5 million),” Abdul Majeed Al Awadhi, the head of the authority, said. “We have 260,000 subscribers and nine per cent, around 20,000 of them, do not pay their bills. The authority is thus cutting off electricity for 10 to 20 subscribers every day,” he said.

The authority last month came under fire from several lawmakers for taking action against subscribers by cutting off their electricity or forcing them to agree to a monthly deduction from their salaries to pay back the dues.

According to critics, the authority was overstepping its prerogatives by not taking into consideration the social and economic status of families that cannot pay their bills on time or having problems paying them.

However, Al Awadhi said that the action against subscribers was always a last resort.

“We do look after the subscribers, but they have to pay the arrears and the bills. We do not cut off electricity in Ramadan or during festivities, and we minimise such action during the hot summer months of July and August,” he said.

The authority often reaches deals with the subscribers to pay their dues in installments over one year and, in some cases that are approved by the minister, over two or three years, he said.

According to Al Awadhi, the electricity and water authority needs a budget of BD 420 million.

“We have been allocated BD250 million in the 2011 budget, and we receive BD135 million. We have a deficit of BD35 million,” he said.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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