Energy & Mining

Less is More

Demand Side Management

Higher water and electricity tariffs in Abu Dhabi have been put in place to curb wasteful energy consumption in the Emirate as part of a wider effort to educate consumers on the importance of their role in the energy equation.

The UAE is rich in energy resources, implementing a diversified strategy that includes investments in oil, gas, solar, nuclear, and Abu Dhabi in particular has a keen interest in embracing more advanced clean energy technologies and emission-free sources into its local mix. However, rapid economic development coupled with a consumer-mentality of limitless abundance has led to the UAE carrying the distinction as one of the largest energy consuming nations per capita in the world, with fossil fuels dominating domestic energy usage. Over-consumption of energy is not only a domestic concern for the UAE, but also a concern for countries that rely on the UAE for oil exports, as domestic consumption taps into export supplies. For these reasons, it is widely understood among government leaders and key regulators in the energy, water, and electricity sectors that current rates of consumption cannot continue in light of increasing demand projections. To address this, consumers are being encouraged to consume less through incentives designed to increase awareness of wasteful consumption and positive measures in demand-side management are taking place in Abu Dhabi.

Residents of Abu Dhabi likely saw a rise in their water and electricity bills beginning January 1, 2015 as the government implemented higher tariff rates early in the year. Depending on the size and type of household residents live in, both locals and expatriates are now subject to higher tariffs, with the expat rate higher than the local one. Nevertheless, for the first time, Emiratis have to pay for water usage—a major shift in the local mindset when it comes to energy consumption. With household energy bills now seeing the impact of higher tariffs, consumers will now have a greater incentive to adapt their behavior, turning off their lights and faucets more readily than before. The expected shift in mindset and behavior these raised tariffs are encouraging is something energy suppliers, regulators, and consumers all stand to see the benefits of.

For the UAE and the entire GCC region, energy has been, and will remain, a key pillar of economic development and progress of the future. In speaking about the efforts being made at the governmental level to change consumption behavior, UAE Minster of Energy, HE Eng. Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei stated, “Talking to, and incentivizing people, is extremely important to us.” For Abu Dhabi, the demand-side of the energy equation is now receiving more attention than it had been previously with the implementation of higher water and electricity tariffs and other incentives to reduce wasteful energy consumption domestically. Initiatives like these help to raise awareness of over-consumption and shift consumers toward adopting greener solutions, freeing up more energy for export in the global market. In the efforts to reduce the UAE’s characterization as one of the highest consumers of energy per capita and shift toward greener energies, Abu Dhabi is working to ensure consumers understand the key role they must play in the overall energy equation.