Poll: Ukrainians want to know more about energy

26 December 2018

Only 12% of citizens note that they are fully informed about the energy sector, 50% declare the awareness at the general level, 30% are enough informed. Such data were received during the public opinion research, conducted within the USAID Transparent Energy Sector project carried out by DiXi Group Think Tank.

According to the survey, 65% of Ukrainians who are interested in energy supply information do this in order to understand how tariffs are formed, 52% want to know how to save on paying bills, and 51% - want to be sure of fair tariffs.

Awareness

Now the energy sector remains inaccessible and incomprehensible to the majority of citizens. Household consumers are informed the worst, suppliers and regulatory bodies are informed the best, corporate consumers and other authorities – at the medium level.

Both experts and business representatives are unanimous in the opinion that executive authorities should be responsible for providing informational transparency in the field of energy. For 41% of Ukrainians, information about work of energy companies is partly understandable and only separate issues require explanation. 33% said that only specialists understand the information, and 17% - that in general there is no available information.

As regards sources of information, citizens learn about the energy sector from national TV channels, bills from suppliers and acquaintances. Young people aged 18-24 years receive information via the Internet (47%), or social network (39%), but there are only 8% and 4% among pensioners, respectively.

80% of respondents noted that they do not have information about how the funds that the state receives through the energy sector are used. 75% said that they do not have enough information about the owners of companies, and 74% - about renewable energy sources.

55% of Ukrainians would like to receive information about work of suppliers of gas, electricity and heat through bills. Then, official sites and information stands of suppliers, controllers and other staff, local media follow far behind (21-23%).

24% of citizens aged 25-34 are ready to do it through the “user’s account”, other electronic systems carrying out calculations.

Only 9% are ready to pay extra for the sake of more high quality information.

Tariffs

79% of Ukrainians believe that overrated and unreasonable prices and tariffs are a display of corruption in the energy sector.

39% and 38% of the survey participants believe that the Ministry of Energy and the Cabinet of Ministers, respectively, are responsible for forming tariffs. Another 28% find that it is the competence of the NEPURC and the suppliers themselves, and 21% - of the President and the Verkhovna Rada.

76% of the polled citizens find it important to have access to more detailed information on how the tariffs for gas, electricity and heat supply are formed.

Corruption

47% of Ukrainians believe that corruption in the energy sector is one of the biggest problems in society and the state, and 19% - the biggest problem.

Participants of the poll consider gas and oil products markets the most corrupted, followed by electricity and coal supplies closely behind, while markets of “green” energy and clean technologies markets, energy efficient services (audit, thermo-modernization) are less corrupted.

69% of citizens remember scandals with “Tymoshenko’s gas contracts”. Another 40% make mention the scandal with “Boiko’s towers”, and 33% have heard or know about scandals with offshores (“Panama Papers”, “Paradise Papers”) and schemes related to the Odessa Port Plant. 30% know or heard about the Rotterdam+ formula.

Most Ukrainians are ready to respond to facts of corruption through participation in discussions with friends, acquaintances (60%), signing petitions (44%); only 23% are ready go to protest rallies, demonstrations.

Suppliers

For 60% of Ukrainians, the criterion of qualitative information can be decisive when choosing a supplier, provided that the price and service criteria are uniform.

In the sphere of gas, 25% of consumers are ready to change the supplier; 58% did not receive any reportable information from it for the last year. 8% complained about poor quality services for the last year, the problem was solved in 39% of cases.

In the electricity industry, 20% of consumers are ready to change the supplier; 55% say they did not receive any reportable information for the last year. Only 8% complained about poor quality services.

In the field of heat supply, 36% of consumers are ready to change the supplier; 51% did not receive any reportable information for the last year, and 17% complained about poor quality services for the last year.

Gender

Women are responsible for paying bills almost in half households of the country (46%), men – in 18% of households. Obligations to pay are divided between husband and wife in turn in 11% of households, on a case to case basis – in another 8%.

Absolute majority of Ukrainians equally trust experts-women and experts-men.

Experts’ and Business Representatives’ Opinions

Polled experts and business representatives are unanimous in opinion that the executive authorities should be responsible for ensuring information transparency in the field of energy.

Improving the level of public awareness and improving the quality of service, according to experts’ unanimous opinion, is possible due to the introduction of such tools as “user’s account” and electronic digital signature. Experts evaluate such tools and means of communication as modern, progressive and useful. Business representatives expressed the opinion that informing is only one of the components in the development of the service system.

To improve the state of things, respondents from business environment offer: an audit, general change in systems of statistics and accounting, personal responsibility for not providing data or providing false data.

A survey for the USAID Transparent Energy project was conducted by GfK Ukraine from June 9 to July 5, 2018 in all regions of Ukraine with the exception of the Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. 3,856 respondents aged 18 years and older were interviewed. Maximum possible sampling error is 1.6%. 13 comprehensive interviews with representatives of the expert and business environment were held.

The USAID Transparent Energy Project started in November 2016. It is aimed at combating corruption and improving financial transparency in the energy sector of Ukraine. This is planned to be achieved through the disclosure, analysis and publishing information from the energy sector, which is either hidden or access to which is restricted.

The release of this material was made possible through the support of the American people, provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The opinions contained in this material are solely the responsibility of DiXi Group and in no case may be considered as representing the position of the USAID or the U.S. Government.

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