DiXi Group experts took part in the round table “Energy poverty in Ukraine as a challenge to the national policy” held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center on 12 September.
The participants discussed a number of topics, including vulnerability of consumers in various countries, recipes of overcoming energy poverty, whether there are prospects of overcoming energy poverty without stimulating businesses and households for rational energy consumption and whether energy poverty affects the country’s energy security. In particular, they touched upon the subject of subsidy system.
“In 2017, 42% of all households in Ukraine were receiving subsidies. After the recipient verification campaign of 2018-19, their number went down. As of the spring of 2019, almost 25% of households were receiving subsidies, and the percentage of the household budget spent on paying utility bills was 15% on average,” Denys Nazarenko, DiXi Group General Manager for Training Programs said.
Under the current subsidy system, moneys are mostly “eaten up”. During the years of independence, the number of vulnerable consumers did not decline. According to information by Naftogaz, people living in private homes and receiving a subsidy burned 73% more gas than those without a subsidy, and for residents of apartment buildings, this figure is 23%.
“In our opinion, this is wrong. If this trend continues, we will never overcome energy poverty,” Serhii Balan, DiХi Group General Manager for Development of the Energy Sector stressed.
“This is a complex problem, so the solution must be complex as well … The key question is whether the government and the newly-elected MPs, while talking about protection of consumers, will at the same time have a political will to take the necessary, uneasy and often painful steps without which, it will be impossible to take care of consumers in a long term,” Denys Nazarenko summed up.
Experts also propose to introduce control over the baseline indoor temperature norms. Thus, considering NCREUS’s recommendations, the government must help low-income families to pay heating bills only up to 18°C (up to 20°С in corner rooms), based on budget constraints and to stimulate heat saving.
It is also recommended to take an inventory of the country’s housing stock and determine the energy performance class of buildings. For that purpose, buildings and separate premises must undergo obligatory certification before sale or long-term lease, and certain reservations from Ukrainian experts and specialists of the Energy Community Secretariat must be taken into account.