The Shoura (Consultative) Council is set to discuss the hefty increase in electricity charges will ask the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority (ECRA), which is the Kingdom's supervisory body of the power generation and consumption, to intervene in the matter.
The council's committee on economy and energy on Sunday discussed the reasons behind the rising cost of electricity which it described as extremely "tough" on the citizens.
Council member, Abdullah Bin Rashid Al-Khalidi expressed his exasperation over the high electricity rates for the month of June and said the bills had gone up tremendously.
The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has maintained that the bills have gone up by about 67 percent over their value the same period last year.
"Electricity charges have increased 10 times and now it has become impossible for ordinary citizen to bear the increased burden on their pockets," he said.
Khalidi noted that the Citizen's Account compensates the citizens but said this is far from enough as the difference between the support of the account and the value of the bill is too huge.
He asked the SEC to reconsider the mechanism of calculating electricity consumption and to forward the new tariff to the King for approval.
Khalidi said the council will on Tuesday discuss the report of the ECRA and will forward its findings to the authority in its capacity as the governing body of the SEC.
He said Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, chairman of the committee, proposed to address the ECRA to reconsider the new bills and to return to the old tariff.
"The ECRA should address the supreme authority to reduce the tariff which has become extremely high for the ordinary people to bear," he said.
He said electricity is a necessity for citizens and the government is keen on their comfort. "The government will not accept this hike in the electricity bills and will intervene to correct the situation," he added.
Al-Rashid expected the bills to go further up during the hot months of July and August.
Saeed Bin Qsim Al-Khalidi Al-Malki, a member, said the bills will further go up to the detriment of the citizens, especially those in the low-income group.
"The value of the bill has become more than the monthly house rent which may be around SR1,500," he added.
Al-Malki said all the areas are hot these days and the temperature is expected to rise more during the coming months so the dependence on air-conditioning will likewise increase.
He said it is impossible for families to live in one room so as to rationalize power consumption.
"There are areas where the ACs should be on 24 hours a day because they are extremely hot," he added.
Al-Malki asked the SEC to look for immediate solutions to avoid the impossible increase in the electricity bills and suggested to go back to the old tariff to which the VAT should be added.
ECRA Governor, Abdullah Al-Shihri, said the authority has received more than 5,000 complaints against high cost of electricity bills and justified the rise in the bills to the advent of summer during which the consumption of power usually increases.
A citizen in Hail complained that there was no electricity meter in his new house under construction yet he received a bill for SR3,500.
By Mohammed Al-Malki
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