FILE - Man and woman wearing wedding rings – Pixabay/Filipe Augusto FILE - Man and woman wearing wedding rings – Pixabay/Filipe Augusto

Law exempting widows, divorcees, pensioners from utilities bills to be discussed

Tue, Sep. 4, 2018
CAIRO – 4 September 2018: A draft law to exempt widows, divorcees and pensioners from paying water, electricity and gas bills will be presented in the Parliament’s fourth round to support the poorest categories in the society, said MP Amr Aboul Yazid.

In a telephone interview with TV presenter Gaber al–Qarmouti, Yazid referred that under the draft law widows, divorcees and pensioners, who will be exempted from paying the bills, should be included in the first consumption brackets, confirming that the draft law will be studied carefully to limit the burden on low-income households.

As part of Egypt’s economic reform program, launched in July 2014 to slash spending on fuel and electricity subsidies, the move attempts to curb an increasing budget deficit.

The application comes gradually as the government announces new prices each fiscal year.

Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker announced on June 12, 2018, in a press conference new hikes in electricity prices.

According to Shaker, the overall increase does not exceed 26 percent, while the average hikes in bills for households amount to around 24 percent.

The minister also affirmed that the new hikes save the country from potential losses that might reach LE 109 billion.

He added that users of the first bracket of the housing use segment only bear 18 percent of the total cost of the bill, as they pay LE 12 while the actual bill costs LE 65.

The new prices, according to the minister, come as part of the government’s economic reform program, and they were put into effect as of July 1 as follows:

Housing use:

First bracket: From 0 to 50 kilowatts: new price is 22 piasters up from 13.

Second bracket: From 51 kilowatts to 100: new price is 30 piasters up from 22.

Third bracket: From 101 to 200 kilowatts: new price is 36 piasters up from 27.

Fourth bracket: From 201 to 350 kilowatts: new price is 70 piasters up from 55.

Fifth bracket: From 351 kilowatts to 650: new price is 90 piasters up from 75.

Sixth bracket: From 651 to 1000 kilowatts: new price is 135 piasters up from 125.

Seventh bracket: From 1001 to more than 10000 kilowatts: new price is 145 piasters up from 135.

Furthermore, Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail signed off on June 2 to raise drinking water and sewage fees by as much as 50 percent for consumers of all consumption tiers, according to the Official Gazette.

The new prices for residential use range between LE 0.65 to LE 2.25 per cubic meter, depending on the consumption.

Sewage fees, which are calculated as a percentage of water prices, hiked to 75 percent of the water price.

Prices for commercial use range from LE 3 to LE 10, depending on the industry and consumption levels, while sewage fees have been raised to 98 percent of the water price.

Additional report by Hanan Mohamed
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