BEIRUT

Regional

UAE’s excessive energy use may spur price hike

ABU DHABI: The United Arab Emirates is consuming far too much energy and may have to raise prices to encourage consumers to change, the energy minister said.

“What is sad is that consumption is double or triple the average of the world,” Suhail bin Mohammad al-Mazrouei told Reuters Tuesday.

Heavily subsidized prices for fuel and electricity give residents in the Gulf little reason to switch to more fuel-efficient cars or limit their use of air conditioning in one of the world’s hottest climates.

A fondness for gas-guzzling 4X4s and shopping malls – including one with a ski slope – has helped make the UAE the globe’s seventh-biggest per capita consumer of energy, World Bank data shows.

Cheap energy in the region has also attracted energy-intensive industries like aluminium smelters.

To discourage waste, utilities in the UAE have introduced tiered water and electricity charges and launched some publicity campaigns over the last few years.

“We introduced a small adjustment in the tariff at a federal level so that people become aware of their consumption,” Mazrouei said.

“If this campaign is not successful then we will have to re-look at the tariff system.”

He did not say whether Emirati citizens, who pay much lower prices for electricity than expats, would also face bigger bills if the government decides to raise prices again.

Emirati nationals are estimated to make up less than 15 percent of the UAE’s population.

“The nationals are less than 30 percent of consumption,” the minister said.

“The rest of the misuse of energy is coming from the expatriates,” he said at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 23, 2014, on page 8.
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here