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Battle-ready: Is DEWA preparing for competition?

Battle-ready: Is DEWA preparing for competition?

As it tightens its finances and increases its customer network through CSR, DEWA's actions may be revealing that a second utilities provider may just be around the corner.

October 4, 2011 2:38 by

The folks at Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) are on their toes this week and their actions seem to be pointing towards more than what they’d like to let on. (The circular illustration on one of the Ninja’s below is the DEWA logo, by the way, in case you weren’t familiar.)

Just this Tuesday, they’ve announced plans to complete payment for ongoing projects, worth about AED16 billion over the next two years.

But that story in Gulf News about completing payment isn’t what caught our interest. It was that little disclaimer at the bottom that noted Dubai government’s plans to “soon allow other providers into the market.”

Ah competition! This brings us back to Etisalat’s glory days of monopoly and the time when a second operator was due to arrive. Etisalat beefed up on features, packages and services (albeit you’d agree they continue to leave out customer service in their list of improvements) in the run up to du’s launch.

So, is it a coincidence then that DEWA is tying up loose ends at a time when it could possibly face competition?

We’d be more inclined to say otherwise, except that the company launched a new social initiative this Monday that will see DEWA cover up to AED25,000 for the cost of connecting electricity to houses of low-income Emiratis.

It’s a great CSR initiative, of course. Bringing the most basic necessities to those who can’t afford them is always warmly welcomed. All we’re saying to that it also doesn’t hurt that this initiative will see DEWA create a wider network of customers for itself by covering the costs of hooking up new houses—all while a second electricity and water provider is still en route.

A good move on DEWA’s part, we think, for three things:

–          Few people would go through the hassle of changing change your utilities provider

–          It’s like getting a head start on increasing market share

–          Shouldering the cost of the electricity and water connections would make these selected households essentially loyal to DEWA for the help they’ve been handed

While we suspect that the coming of a second electricity and water provider won’t really be for a while, it’ll be interesting to what else DEWA’s got up its sleeve to keep its captivated customers.

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