The history of billing consumers of utilities for their use has been a bit messy in Saudi Arabia. Traditionally, the landlord who owned a building was sent the bills. Now, individual tenants will receive the bills in their own names, Saudi Gazette/Okaz report.
Of course, landlords are welcoming the change. They will no longer be stuck with paying the bills for tenants who skip out. What’s more, the individually named tenants will be unable to get exit visas until their utility bills are paid in full. The Saudi Electric Company will be paid, come hell or high water.
There’s an even greater benefit hidden in this move, though. Now, individual consumers — at least on the family or group level — will be able to see exactly how much electricity they are consuming. In a country that has extremely wasteful energy practices, this can only be a good thing. And if bills start to get too high — though subsidized electricity is cheap in the Kingdom — consumers have the ability to reduce their use of a valuable resource.
Electricity bills now in name of tenants
Ahmad Al-Khamali | Okaz/Saudi Gazette
RIYADH – Electricity consumption bills will be issued in the name of tenants instead of landlords in the coming two months, according to Abdullah Al-Shahri, Governor of the Electricity and Co-generation Regulatory Authority (ECRA).
“The regulatory authority has notified the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) to enforce its directive of linking electricity bills directly to the tenant within two months. The new move would help settle the problem of disputes between landlords and their tenants over electricity bills, especially when the latter leaves the residence without paying the bills,” he said.
According to the directive, Al-Shahri said, the tenant must pay the bill in accordance with the subscription number registered on the respective meter reader.
“The tenant will be fully responsible for the billed amount and the landlord will no longer be accountable for any non-payment. SEC will follow the same bill payment system followed by the Saudi Telecom Co.,” he said.