Sunday, May 22, 2011

Empower launches awareness campaign on district cooling billing

Empower launches awareness campaign on district cooling billing

Company’s billing is based on actual metered consumption of cooling service

Dubai, UAE, 22nd May, 2011: Emirates Central Cooling Corporation (Empower) has launched an awareness campaign on the billing of its services in an attempt to increase transparency and loyalty among its rapidly increasing customer base in Dubai.

Ahmed Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “We were the first district cooling (DC) company in the UAE to introduce metering in 2007. We consider customers as the backbone of our operations and raising customer awareness of our services and billing systems is the key to winning their loyalty.”

As and when customers of Empower use the air-conditioning, the meter will run at the rate of 0.568 fils per RT per hour. It is billed in arrears at the end of each month. On the other hand, there is the demand charge, which is a recurring annual fee, levied by Empower for providing District Cooling Service at AED 750 per Refrigeration Ton (RT) per annum, billed and paid quarterly in advance.

Bin Shafar emphasized that Empower bills its customers based on the actual metered consumption of cooling services. The RT of the customer’s unit is pre-determined by the developer depending on its unit area and premise type.

Forming part of the bill is the Meter Maintenance which is charged quarterly at Dhs 50 per quarter to cover the testing and maintenance of each meter installed in the apartment. It is billed in arrears in the last month of each quarter, while the connection charge is a one-off fee to be paid by the owner for the connection, which is different from the Refundable Security Deposit that is paid at the time of registration.

Bin Shafar said that like any other utilities, Empower charges are linked to the cost of inputs and general inflation index and are subject to revision, and, as such, tariffs are subject to change.

To save energy, customers must control their consumption by optimizing the setting of their thermostat or reducing cooling losses through their windows and doors.

Bin Shafar added: “Empower's District Cooling system is underpinned by a skilled round-the-clock service team and a comprehensive set of emergency back-up systems that ensure complete reliability.”

District cooling is measured in refrigeration ton which is equivalent to 12000 BTU's per hour. Refrigeration Ton is the unit measure for the amount of heat removed. Refrigeration Ton is defined as the heat absorbed by one ton of ice (2000 pounds) causing it to melt completely by the end of one day (24 hours).

District cooling systems can replace any type of air conditioning system, but primarily compete with air-cooled reciprocating chiller systems serving large buildings which consume large amounts of electricity.

Bin Shafar added: “This air-conditioning system is subject to a difficult operating environment, including extreme heat, saline humidity and windborne sand. Over time, performance, efficiency and reliability suffer, leading to significant maintenance costs and ultimately to equipment replacement.”

This awareness campaign reflects the core values of Empower and it reinforces its position on the global front as an organization that delivers efficient service with transparent billing system.

About Empower: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) is a joint venture between Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone (TECOM) Investments and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), created to provide energy-efficient district cooling services to large-scale real estate developments. Empower plans to diversify into other energy efficiency and conservation services. Empower's district cooling systems (DCS) provide effective and efficient means of air conditioning. Water is cooled in central plants and distributed through a network of piping systems to individual customer buildings. DCS achieves economies of scale by using centralised plants instead of individual cooling units in each building. The centralised system results in reduced capital and operating costs, thus reducing air-conditioning set-up and energy costs per building. Empower is set to become one of the largest district cooling companies in the region.

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