Buyers in the latest phase of Al Hamra Village development in Ras Al Khaimah are facing thousands of dirhams in unexpected fees for electricity connections as the emirate struggles to provide power to new developments.
Marc Austin was surprised when he was charged a Dh37,000 (US$10,075) connection fee for his two-bedroom apartment in the Royal Breeze project. If he did not pay, he would not get the keys to the apartment, he was told by the developer, Al Hamra Real Estate.
"The magnitude of the fee, especially in the run-up to Christmas, has pretty much wiped us out," said Mr Austin, an architect. "It was a bitter pill to swallow."
The connection fees in Royal Breeze were based on the rates set by the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (Fewa) and Al Ghail Power, said Benoy Kurien, the general manager of Al Hamra.
The developer was simply passing on the charges, he said. The typical connection fee has been about Dh22,000 for a two-bedroom apartment. "As of now, these unit rates are out of the control of Al Hamra Real Estate development," Mr Kurien said.
Fewa officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Arranging electricity and water services and road access has been a challenge on several projects in the Northern Emirates. This year the Federal Government allocated Dh5.7 billion to build additional infrastructure for the Northern Emirates over the next five years.
Rapid growth in the Northern Emirates has also put pressure on existing communities.
"In recent years, power shortages have become increasingly problematic, as an expanding population has seemingly outgrown the capabilities of the existing infrastructure," the property consultancy CB Richard Ellis noted in a recent report.
Mr Austin's sales contract included provisions for a connection fee but did not specify the amount.