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When Meters Bring Money

 

Sometimes it seems that international donors should have introduced conditions for granting financial assistance to Ukraine as early as 1991. According to Anton Antonenko, an expert of DiXi Group Analytical Centre, perhaps, in that case, we would have had quite a different situation in Ukraine in general and in the energy sector in particular.

However, it is received wisdom that in history there are no givens.

In Ukraine, there is an old custom: energy resources are supplied to consumers based on a kind of gentlemen’s agreement — households pay only the sums indicated in their bills and want to know nothing about the real price and source of supply. Since the Soviet times, the older generation regards utility payments as one of their most important monthly commitments. They scarcely read the part of the bill where services rendered are described.

It is in that part that the specific information on energy consumption should be provided, including the amount of heat consumption, calculated in gigacalories consumed, instead of an area expressed in square meters. However, the lack of consumers’ attention is not the main problem as there is no full energy metering in Ukraine. Here it goes not about individual meters in each apartment, but about house meters which will help determine the amount of heat consumed by the building, energy transportation losses as well as measures to make the system more efficient and reduce consumers’ expenses.

In any case, the first and foremost energy efficiency measure at the national level should be introduction of commercial metering. It is an old idea. There are several versions of relevant draft laws, but they are put before the Parliament only after they are included in the list of conditions to be met to receive next tranche of financial assistance from international donors. It is not the adoption, but the implementation of a relevant legislative act that matters and should be taken into account during discussions.

If metering is introduced, consumers will be able to calculate their expenses, unite for their optimisation and build fair relations with suppliers. Until that moment the relations between the parties will be governed by the principle of tacit consent — consumers pay less and do not ask where money comes from; suppliers get compensation for a real price from the common (state) budget and do not specify how much they have received.

 

Anton Antonenko
Vice President of the DiXi Group

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