The messenger logo

Ugulava: electricity tariffs are unfair

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, December 26
Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, says the residents of the capital will receive twice as much of an advantage from the City Hall’s special voucher in winter then they will through the government's recent decrease in electricity tariffs.

Ugulava said on December 25 that every resident of Tbilisi who is registered in the capital will receive 100 GEL voucher from Tbilisi Budget 2013, while socially unprotected families will be granted with GEL 250 vouchers.

Ugulava also explained that the 100 GEL voucher will be divided into five months. He said during this period 20 GEL will be put on the account of subscribers.

“According to the Georgian government’s new initiative, families consuming over 300 kilowatts of electricity per month will pay 3.54 GEL less at the starting level. However, this will not concern 50, 000 residents of Tbilisi who belong to so-called third category,” Ugulava stated.

Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Kakha Kaladze said on Monday that tariffs on electricity will decrease beginning January, 2013. As a result, families consuming 0 to 300 kilowatts of electricity per month will pay 3.5 tetris les per kilowatt in the capital and in regions. However, the cost of electricity for those families which consume more than 300 kilowatts remains at 17.70 tetris per kilowatt for Tbilisi residents, and 17.50 for families living in regions.

However, Mayor of Tbilisi thinks that the government’s initiative is not fair. Talking on example of Tbilisi residents Ugulava said 80 000 subscribers using electricity from 0 to 100 kilowatts per month will have to pay over 10 tetris per kilowatt according to the governmental initiative, while Tbilisi city Hall offers more benefits not only for covering costs of electricity but also other utility expenses.

Although he welcomed the government’s goodwill, the Tbilisi Mayor still thinks that the Ministry of Energy’s suggestion is “an ugly attempt” to deceive people that the Georgian Dream coalition is fulfilling election promises they gave to their electorate.

Revaz Arveladze, an analyst in the energy sector, does not think it is right to reduce the tariff for a particular category of people and not all of society. He told Rustavi 2 that the consumers of more than 300 kilowatts of electricity are subsidizing those who consume less.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said the government does not intend to offend the citizens with vouchers. In response to Ugulava’s statements, Khaduri said the UNM had nine years to decrease electricity tariff even by 3.5 tetris. He said residents of Tbilisi suffer a lot from the “illegal decision” of the Mayor’s office and City Council about uniting garbage and electricity expenses.

The Minister said instead of distributing vouchers the new government should better increase salaries and pensions so that every family could afford covering their expenses.