Stop Firtash and company immediately! Parliament on guard for the interests of gas consumers

In recent days, Ukraine has been swept by a wave of massive shutoffs of gas supply in apartment buildings by the regional gas companies. Monopolists draw up fictitious acts on gas leaks and disconnect whole houses from gas supply on this basis.

To date, there have been cases like this in Hadiach, Kakhovka, Zaporizhia and other cities.

At the same time, the condition set forward by the regional gas distribution companies is not to liquidate the gas leakage, but for condominiums to sign a paid contract for the operation of the components of the gas distribution system (in-house gas networks).

This is pure blackmail. Blackmail is unacceptable. Leaving homes with small children and elderly people without the possibility of cooking for weeks is unacceptable and illegal.

I will appeal to prosecutor’s office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs with regard to each of such illegal cases demanding an investigation and punishment of the guilty officials of the regional gas companies.

I would also like to ask citizens to report about similar facts of blackmail from gas distribution companies, we will do whatever we can to help. This is first thing.

Secondly. Even a preliminary analysis shows the groundlessness of the requirements of regional gas companies towards condominiums to become a party to the contract on the operation of in-house gas networks.

Condominiums are not owners of these networks, condominiums were never authorized to act as representatives of real co-owners of these networks – gas consumers living in the apartment buildings.

Therefore, this whole story with blackmail also shows the institutional insolvency of some regional gas companies. This is very sad.

By the way, interestingly, «VinnytsiaHaz” regional company, for example, is informing its customers about the beginning of a systematic maintenance service of in-house networks in apartment buildings without even mentioning the need to sign any contracts.

Also, no one turns off gas in the buildings that have managers or housing maintenance offices. Only condominiums are demonized. This is an absolute hypocrisy. I will demand equal conditions for all market participants.

Thirdly. Quality maintenance of in-house gas networks is necessary. This is a matter of safety of our families.

But we must be able to choose which of the operating entities can guarantee this security to us and who will be responsible in the event of accidents.

I am totally against an irresponsible monopoly of the regional gas companies in this sensitive issue. I stand for market relations and discipline. What am I talking about when referring to monopoly?

I am talking about 2/3 of gas distribution companies of Ukraine which belong to Firtash, but which, in the opinion of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine, are not a monopoly.

About the weird policy of the Cabinet on the paid use of state gas distribution networks with a fair value of billions of euros, the possession over which, according to the government’s decision, should be delivered to the current regional gas distribution companies for a token fee, with the subsequent full cost recovery at the expense of the consumers.

About the excessively liberal policy of the state with regard to allowing regional gas distribution companies to keep huge amounts of funds no one knows where without providing in full tens of billions of cubic meters of gas for the needs of the population.

This is not to mention the structure of the gas distribution tariff, with its mysterious spending on investment programs, technological gas losses and other components that cost billions of hryvnias for the citizens of Ukraine.

And last but not least. I understand that there is no stability in the National Commission for Regulation in Energy and Utilities – the rotation of the Commission members is underway, global changes are taking place ,and so on. But the regulator is not liquidated and it must stand guard over the legality and interests of the consumers.

I will demand the Commission’s full support of the residents of apartment buildings instead of regional gas companies. The authorities must remember who and why is the source of power in Ukraine.

Viktoriya Vojtsitska
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