The National Commission for State Regulation in Energy and Utilities will make Ukrainians return to the Middle Ages: in a few days, thousands of homes will have water supply cut off, people will be left without water and without sewage system. This is an ecological and industrial disaster.
And all this is because of the fact that the state represented by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the regulator – NCSREU – are implementing policies that male the companies of critical infrastructure – water utilities – almost bankrupt.
As early as on April 1, residents of the Dnipropetrovsk region who consume water from the Aulskyi water canal, residents of Donetsk region who consume water from “Vody Donbasa”, and of many more regions of Ukraine (about a million consumers) may be left without running water.
This is because of the fact that on January 1, a very good law on a free electricity market came into force in Ukraine. However, the NCSREU and the Cabinet of Ministers did not ensure the transition to these new conditions for enterprises supplying water.
From January 1, 2019, the NCSREU doubled the distribution tariff for energy companies and increased the cost of wholesale electricity by another 40%. However, none of the one hundred water utilities under the control of NCSREU had an economically reasonable tariff established.
What is happening now? Kirovohrad regional council – 35 million hryvnias to a water utility in order to supply people with water, Sumy city council – 6 million hryvnias to ensure the water supply.
All other water utilities in the first quarter of 2019 had 15% losses (about a billion hryvnias).
A representative the Samopomich parliamentary faction, Viktoriia Voitsitska, and a representative of Samopomich in the Kyiv regional council, Olha Babiy, are sounding the alarm.
In particular, Voitsitska notes that the companies that supply us with water can be disconnected from the electricity supply by those companies that provide them with electricity.
“The NCSREU, which approves tariffs for water supply companies – those that supply water to our homes – does not revise tariffs for key critical enterprises; this led to the fact that from January 1 these companies were forced to switch to the so-called supplier of the last hope (a company that provides electricity at sky-rocketing tariffs that are 30-40% more expensive than market prices for electricity), which actually pushes water utilities into the abyss of bankruptcy.”
And what do the authorities offer in this situation? Of course, to shift responsibility to local budgets. That is, the Cabinet and the NCSREU are simply robbing the local budgets.
Viktoriia Voitsitska states: “Now the local governments are forced to choose – either to pay salaries to doctors, teachers, or to pay debts that are accumulated for electricity by companies that supply water to people’s houses, or to remain without water at all.”
In her turn, Olha Babiy notes: “This situation is unacceptable. We demand public statements by the government, the governing bodies of the country. We need to understand whether residents will have water on April 1, and what the situation with the regulation of the industry will be like.”
Therefore, Samopomich and representatives of water utilities are calling on everyone:
– Do not be silent about this situation. These are not only water utilities that are suffering from such activities of the NCSREU, but also the entire business.
– the National Security Council must be urgently convened because of the threat to the safety of people’s lives. The Council together with the Cabinet of Ministers should come up with an algorithm of how electricity will be supplied from April 1 to critical infrastructure enterprises.
– Law enforcement agencies must find out why a group of persons within the NCSREU are artificially making bankrupt a huge number of enterprises that supply water in Ukraine, causing damage to them and bearing absolutely no responsibility for this. At the same time, it sets tariffs for private energy companies.
“The worst thing that can happen is that Ukrainians who have a constitutional right to a decent life might remain without a basic need – without water. It is impossible to imagine something like this in the 21st century. The state should side with its people, ensure the water supply and do everything to prevent the collapse of the critical infrastructure,” concludes Viktoriia Voitsitska.