Word on the street: Utility bills
Public opinion on the streets of Muscat.
Are you satisfied with the billing system/meter reading? Do you think it is accurate?
Utba Asim, Marketing professional
Since the last two months, my utility bills are quite high despite no change in consumption. I am not sure about the billing system as one does not know when and how the readings are taken.
Shahzad Ahmed, Auditor
The billing system of utility services doesn’t seem satisfactory, as I have never seen officials coming. This may be the cause behind inflated bills as meter readers do not do their job professionally. I am paying double the amount of money as compared to what I used to earlier.
Ahmed Khan, Engineer
We have been getting inflated bills for the past three months. No official has responded to my complaints on this. I am not sure if the readings are accurate as most people have complained of no response.
Pooja Bangera, Marketing executive
A lot of my friends including me have been receiving inflated bills for quite some time. The authorities should work out a system to provide accurate meter readings and help consumers track and match their units with bills.
Safeer Ahmed, Entrepreneur
I have not had any problem with my utility bills so far as they have been nominal. But, I know a few people who have been facing this problem of high bills. Probably, meter readers are not doing their job well and hence the discrepancy. There should be an integrated system through which consumers can monitor their consumption.
Hisham Talaat, Teacher
I don’t think the readings are accurate. Officials hardly visit houses and take readings. Bills are generated mostly based on average consumption.
Q2. Do you think there should be a more comprehensive response system to address complaints?
Amina Yusra ,IT professional
There should be a more comprehensive system through which the authorities should address people’s complaints and also offer feasible solutions. The customer service also needs to be worked on.
Lalit Nikam, Auditor
This is the age where customer is considered the king. And, a customer service department is very important. This department should handle the complaints sensitively and assure customers that their grievances will be heard and sorted.
Dushyant Kapadia, Assistant valuer
A strong customer service is an asset for any company. We have come across many complaints regarding inflated bills and inaccurate meter readings but there have been no solutions.
Ahmed al Hinai, Private sector employee
There is certainly a need for improvement when it comes to the customer redressal system. There have been times when customer care officials just listen to your complaints but are unaware how to go about them. Be it a utility or telecom operator the customer service section is an essential.
Minal Mukhtar, Blogger
A strong customer service drives a business. But, most customer care officials in utility service departments are only trained to receive complaints and not how to solve them. This is probably because they know people will bear with any lapse as utility services are a necessity.
Abdul Aziz al Kalbani, Private sector employee
A comprehensive system to resolve consumer complaints soon is the need of the hour. By addressing and sorting customers’ grievances authorities can make sure consumers pay their bills on time.
Q3. Are you aware that the utility bills are subsidised? What are you doing to save water and electricity usage?
Amal al Lawati, Private sector employee
I am aware that the water and electricity bills in Oman are subsidised. And, I understand the importance of conserving electricity and water. I ensure I switch off all lights when not needed. While going on vacation too, I ensure that all water and electricity switches are off.
I am aware that electricity and water bills are subsidised. This is a sign of good governance and it shows how much both citizens and residents are cared for. So, it is our duty to make sure that we do our part by saving energy and water. I avoid using a shower over the weekdays to reduce water usage. I use the geyser only when it is too cold, which is rare in Oman.
Abhirup Roy, Filmmaker
I was not aware that the water and electricity bills are subsidised until a few years back when an Omani colleague told me about it. I always make sure that this kind gesture by the government is not misused. I use only one air conditioner at a time in the house.
Mohammad Khalid, Businessman
I am aware of the subsidy offered on utility bills. Though we have two televisions in the flat, me and my family watch TV in the living room. We make sure to check that all lights, fans and air-conditioning units are switched off before leaving the house.
Saif al Harthy, Designer
I am aware of the help provided by the government. The subsidy is really helpful in these times of rising costs. I always try and see that my bills don’t exceed RO20. I try using the washing machine only once a week and also make sure to switch off all lights, air conditioners, television and laptops when not in use.
Nasser al Hosani, Businessman
I know that the Omani government provides subsidy on electricity and water bills. But this does not mean I am not aware of the importance of conserving energy and water. I switch off all lights and electrical appliances when not in use.