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District Cooling Charges in Dubai

The team at Expat Echo Dubai delved a little deeper into the costs associated with home air conditioning, which if you’re new to Dubai you’ll quickly realize is rampantly abbreviated to “AC” – in fact don’t be surprised if you’re met with blank stares when accidentally calling it by its full name. It seems near impossible for newcomers to imagine but for much of the year temperatures in the UAE soar between a bewildering 40 – 50 degrees, often accompanied by 80% humidity. Compared to many of our home countries, its summer all year round in Dubai and chasing the chill factor is a full time pursuit, whether in your car, office or at home. Enter AC.

We’ve discovered that trying to maintain a comfortable climate in your new home however is not nearly as elusive as trying to ascertain which of your friends pays for their home AC separately and which don’t, who they pay and how much. The short answer is it depends on you and where you choose to reside. For instance, if you decide to rent a pad in one of the newer communities in Dubai, such as Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) or Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT), your AC supply will be sourced from a district cooling plant, such as Empower or Palm District Cooling respectively. You can click on the following links to see which other communities are served by Empower and Palm District Cooling.

District cooling refers to the centralized production and distribution of cooling energy. In a nut shell, chilled water is delivered via an underground, insulated pipeline to residential buildings to cool the indoor air of the buildings within a particular district. Specially designed units in each building then use this water to lower the temperature of air passing through the building’s air conditioning system.

The million dollar question remains, if you are required to pay for your AC separately, how much can you expect to pay and will you be able to keep your cool upon opening your monthly bill? In a bid to shed some light on the subject we asked a few of our friends to share with us their monthly AC bills over a set period of time (click here to see our findings). Whilst some people are required to pay for their AC separately, on top of the normal DEWA bills, some places do include AC in the rent and others have their AC tied in with their electricity bill – so be sure to check with the landlord before signing a new tenancy agreement.

If you are renting, your landlord should pay the district cooling set-up fee (approximately 1,5000AED) but you will need to transfer the AC into your name and will usually be required to pay a refundable deposit of around 2,000AED. To transfer you will need your passport and the original sales and purchase agreement or tenancy contract. You will then receive monthly AC bills based on your consumption. There is also usually an Annual Capacity charge which in the case of a 1 bedroom apartment roughly equates to 1,192.50AED but even this is usually settled by the landlord.

Turning up the thermostat by just two degrees reduces energy consumption by an average of 16%. In summer it is recommended that AC temperatures should be between 22-26 degrees, even though it can be tempting to have the room cooler.



One Response to “District Cooling Charges in Dubai”

  1. This idea of district cooling plant is really good it will save alot of resource. Very useful info. Hope to see more posts soon!


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