Why Ukrainians ceased to pay the bills for utilities

Почему украинцы перестали платить по счетам за коммунальные услуги

After the Declaration of intent of the government to translate the monetization of subsidies on the payment of cash in an environment of housing and communal services sounded the alarm. Indeed, in contrast to the previous scheme, when it was assumed that the money will be come to the special account and from there purposefully charged on utilities, now the money will give cash and they can spend anywhere. Not necessarily communal – it is only a matter of consciousness. Which, it is feared in the field of housing, our not very rich in the population is unlikely to emerge, writes “Strenia”.

Moreover, as current trends already talking about the growing disaster payments.

According to the state statistics service, as of November (more recent figures are not available yet) debts for utilities reached a record high at 47.7 bln.

Only for the last reporting month, the citizens behind on payroll for another 7.8 billion UAH. It turns out that paid only 46.6 per cent counted in the November som.

“It’s too little. Even if the level of payment in 70% of the average utility company may purchase resources and pay salaries. You need to pay at least 95% of consumers”, – explained the “Country” Director “Zhytomyrvodokanal” Andrei Novikov.

For comparison: in the beginning of 2018, the debts of population for communal services was about UAH 29 billion. That is, during the year they grew by 20 billion And this is only the beginning, experts warn. Because the figures of the state statistics do not show the dynamics of the payments after the increase of tariffs for heating and hot water (in most cities they increased by 20% from 1 January 2019).

“Updated “picture” we will see by March. And I’m afraid it will be shocking,” says the energy expert Valentin Zemlyansky.

“The country” to understand why Ukrainians ceased to pay the bills, and it will end.

No subsidies – no payments

As evidenced by the state statistics service, in November, the Ukrainians paid for utilities 6.6 billion UAH. I counted them 14.2 billion that is, most of the money went into debt that is huge – almost 47 bln. which is a record for all history of independent Ukraine, – said economist Viktor Skarshevsky.

Note, in October, the payment discipline of the population were much higher: from the assessed 6, 6 billion UAH. people have paid 5.1 billion that is, the level of payments amounted to almost 80%. Citizens have not tried to deceive the public utilities in the previous months. For example, in September for services counted 4.1 billion UAH. and paid even more to 4.4 billion UAH. in August, a similar picture: consumers overpaid 0.6 million UAH. Debts for communal growing, but not as sharply as from the beginning of the new heating season.

Even if the purity of the experiment to compare the November 2018 and November 2017, the difference is immediately apparent: in November last year from the assessed 9.2 billion. paid 6.5 billion, that is more than 70%.

It’s obvious that the current November was clearly atypical in the communal apartment. Experts called several reasons.

First, factor the heating season. After all, even without high tariffs (they have started to operate only since January 1 of this year), the population had to pay for heating.

“Many simply no the required amount. Payment discipline started to deteriorate in the past heating season,” – said the expert of the energy market Valentyn Zemlyansky. Data of the state statistics confirm that the large debts we have gas heating and hot water. So, for gas the Ukrainians owe 2261 bln. for Central heating and hot water – 13,6 billion UAH. for the maintenance of houses and house adjoining territories – 4 billion, in cold water and drain 3.1 billion for electricity and 4.3 billion for garbage – 0.6 billion UAH.

Second, many Ukrainians lost their subsidies. The focus of the authorities on the verification of beneficiaries in the communal and the ruthless attrition of the “extra” candidates has already produced results.

“If in the past heating season grants were received 6.6 million households, at the beginning of this 3.3 million, that is, twice less. But the people in this time have not become richer. They simply have nothing to pay,” – said the head of the tenants Union of Ukraine Alexander Skubchenko.

As told to “the Country”, Andrey Nikitin, if they have a number of consumers subsidianes was about 40% of the total customer base, now only 25%. And this category of people who lost their subsidies automatically updates the lists of defaulters.

“Some do not pay, and some still can’t get used to the idea that you have to pay from his pocket,” – said Andrei Nikitin.

It is unclear how to change the base of subsidianes in the future. On the one hand the Ministry of social policy claim that the budgeted -2019 money on subsidies (as это55 bln.) enough for 7 million households, and will help all who need it. On the other hand – “Naftogaz” at the stage workbenches budget estimates that subsidies should not be less than 90 billion UAH. And economist Alexey Kusch explained “the Country” that the money for subsidies will be enough high, to the end of the heating season.

But the authorities intend to continue to conduct tough screening candidates for compensation in the communal apartment. Only recently, a parliamentary Committee submitted a draft law on the verification of the recipients of state benefits. He, in particular, provides a hard check, up to the monitoring of Bank accounts and property registers. In the total family income, which depends on the amount of subsidies will include remittances from migrant workers and all major family purchases. So if subsidies and will not deny the right and left, their size will decrease for sure and the Ukrainians will have to pay the difference from his pocket.

“This means that the debts will continue to grow,” says Skupchenko.

The collapse of municipal systems

Co-founder of the energy strategies Foundation Dmytro Marunych predicts that by spring, with the payments under the project will generally be all bad.

“January is traditionally a disastrous month in February, the payments are coming too tight. Plus – it is unclear how the market will react to higher tariffs for heat and hot water. Usually the activation of payments starts from the end of spring and in summer in General are overpaid. But how will be this year remains to be seen,” he says.

Meanwhile, the public utilities are already sounding the alarm. “We have 40% of the tariff is the cost of electricity and 40% of salary Fund. Plus consumables (cleaning water), the cost of current repairs, etc. If the level of fees will be below 95%, the enterprise will be very tight,” say “Zhytomyrvodokanal”.

About 46.6% of that state statistics Committee recorded in November, the head of the company Andrey Nikitin does not want to hear. “It is generally unrealistic figures. This will immediately collapse and death of the entire utility system,” he says.

Alexander Skubchenko says that this is the case when the utility does not exaggerate.

“The majority of enterprises profitability is minimal – up to 10%. That is, to at least not operate at a loss, they need 90% of timely payments for services. Otherwise they will be accumulating debts to suppliers”, – said the expert.

In fact, the debts between the utility companies and so huge – of the order of 40 billion UAH. But if they continue to grow, utilities of the country will simply collapse, – experts say.

“The enterprises will disappear completely current assets, they will accumulate debts to suppliers, in particular, the same “Naftogaz” and he will turn the counter will begin to count penalties. In the end, the value of the resource will increase dramatically, which will drive housing and communal services to more negative,” – said V. Zemlyanskyy.

He cites the example of the history of Kiev, where after a transfer of thermal networks of the new ruler – “Kievteploenergo” – there was the debt to “Naftogaz” of almost 5 billion UAH. From a-z that “Naftogaz of Ukraine” stopped gas supply for heating hot water, and residents of the capital all summer bathed in the basin. The heating season is not broke just because the Cabinet has allocated Kiev authorities “tranche” in debt repayment. And, for example, in Smila Cherkasy region because of debts of housing and communal services for gas, the locals sat for a long time without heating.

“Hostages of the public debt will become the entire city. It is a vicious circle – the Ukrainians will have to pay dearly for low-quality services, but to improve their quality and level of service to companies, Teplokommunenergo is simply not for that”, – says the head of the Secretariat of the Council of entrepreneurs under the Cabinet of Ministers Andrei Zablovsky.

Courts, fines and massive power

To survive, utilities will more actively to collect the debts of consumers.

“The courts now work poorly, as poorly functioning Executive office. The most effective method to disconnect from the sewer. As for the connection after the payment of the debt you need to pay about 2 thousand UAH. for people this is a valid argument”, – said Andrei Nikitin.

Debtors can lose the light, sewer and gas. Last fall, NERC allowed “Naftogaz” off of heating and hot water the whole city, but after a stormy public reaction this rule was canceled.

Plus, the utilities expect to deal with debtors will help them a penalty for late payment (0,01% for each day of delay, or 3.6% per annum), which will begin in may of this year. But these arguments may not even work in the fight against unscrupulous consumers.

“The majority of defaulters simply no money and the only thing they have is their housing. It turns out that to pay for overdue bills can only be flat. And this story has a very bad smell,” concluded Zemlyansky.