x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai tells ad firms to turn off the gas

Dubai Municipality has ordered that all firms which use diesel fuel to power their billboards must connect to the electrical grid in three months.

DUBAI // Advertising firms that use diesel generators to power billboards have been given three months to connect the signs to the electrical grid.

The Dubai Municipality will issue notices to advertising companies in the emirate informing them of the new rule, and will issue letters to the companies so they can hasten their applications to obtain electric meters from the Dubai Electric and Water Authority (Dewa). The companies must also get approval for connections to the power grid.

Any billboardfound to be out of compliance with the new rule after three months will have its generator confiscated, and the advertising firm that runs it will face a severe fine, officials said.

The move is aimed at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.

"Diesel-powered generators pose a threat to the good condition of our environment," said Yusuf Abdullah, acting director of the municipality's Building Department.

"Moreover, it distorts the overall fair appearance of the city. Not only do they produce harmful greenhouse gases and noise pollution, but they are an eyesore. Recently, we have seen a large number of these diesel generators along Dubai's main roads, and some of them are right in front of residential areas."

The new initiative is part of Dubai's strategic plan to become a green and sustainable city.

A representative for Image Matters, which runs five billboards on Sheikh Zayed Road, was surprised to hear about the new rule.

"We haven't received any intimation from the municipality regarding this," said Ulysses Wallace, an account manager.

"Three months is no way near enough time to get a Dewa connection," he said.

"I have to hire an electrical contractor, workers and it would cost about Dh40,000, and it's a very lengthy process that takes four to five months to complete.

"I know for a fact that 80 to 90 per cent of the billboards on Sheikh Zayed Road are operating on diesel generators, especially the scaffolding ones.

"But I'm also building a few new billboards, and usually they would operate on a generator for a few months until we get a Dewa connection.

"Now I have to re-assess these projects."

Companies with complaints or inquires about the order can contact the Building Department directly through their e-services system or via email at Buildings@dm.gov.ae.

malkhan@thenational.ae