Winter is coming. How can Ukrainians protect their right to live in warm house?
Winter 2016/2017 is going to be the coldest in the last 100 years. This is the first winter, when Ukrainians will enter it with new, enormous tariffs for heating. There will be no good news for those, who were shocked by the bills last year. Heating bills will increase by 2.5 times. Soon people will start to receive a receipt with large sums.
The bullet point is not in the fact that plethora citizens will not afford these payments. Moreover, it does not come about the fact that new tariffs were adopted with false arguments (the IMF has not claimed it). It is not about the fact the government is pumping money from the pockets of Ukrainians, depriving them of the right to social security – increasing of tariffs were accompanied by complexity of procedures for issuing subsidies.
It is about clear understanding that the government and utility services will attempt to deceive people by submitting bills not at any price.
What makes us thinking in this way? One simple fact: new tariffs – that’s all, what the authorities had fully prepared before the heating season.
They forgot to add one important part to the service price, namely, service itself.
First, reserves of fuel. Heating plants, power plants and common boiler room in Ukraine consumes two types of fuel – coal and gas. We do not have enough neither coal, nor gas.
We need 6 million tonnes of coal and 4 million tons of anthracite till the end of the year (October-December). Nowadays, there is about 1.2 million tons in storage. It is more than 10% out of the required amount.
Last winter, when we faced with this problem, the government was forced to think up new schemes of fuel supply from Donbas (contrary to the government policy in the context of economic blockade on uncontrolled territories).
Nowadays, representatives of the government are trying to slip out in filigreed way: Donbas anthracite is transported to the ports of Odesa and Mariupol. It is registered as an imported coal from South Africa. It is not the fact that it would help.
Gas situation is also complicated. Nowadays, there is 13.9 billion cubic meters’ underground storage. Another 0.5 billion cubic meters will be gained in reverse mode from Poland before the season. In total, we will have 14.4 billion. The need of the country – is 17 billion cubic meters.
During this year, the government has made nothing in order to reduce power consumption of energy utility companies. In addition, it has not stored up necessary volumes of fuel.
Houses are also not ready for the heating. In general, about 40% of the buildings have passed technological preparation in the country. In future, it threatens to low temperature in flats, and numerous communicative accidents. During severe frosts, massive impulse piping, which have not been quickly eliminated, provokes a chain reaction. Entire microdistricts can repeat the fate of Alchevsk.
A conclusion is obvious: people cannot be fully and efficiently provided with heating under such initial conditions.
However, unfortunately, it does not mean that people will not pay money for missing heat.
That is why, it is extremely important for us to be armed and to help all citizens to be aware of legal knowledge, which would provide us with an opportunity to fight against legalized fraud.
What are the tricks of Housing Maintenance Office and Heat network in such cases?
First. They can try to take advantage of the fact that not all consumers are aware normative temperature. A flat is considered to be heated, if the temperature in winter is above 18 degrees. Water is considered to be hot, if its temperature exceeds 50 degrees.
Heat network can deviate from temperature regime for saving in cases, when it cannot be showed up. For instance, they can reduce heat supply in the middle of the day, when everyone is at work, or at night.
Next time they will not connect pipes immediately after the repair in order to keep a diminished level of gas consumption. Of course, it will not be reflected in bills. There will be the sum of all-day heating throughout the month.
How to fight against it? First of all, it is necessary to remember that there are no automatic discounts. Unfortunately, in our country a consumer has to prove that he did not get required volume of services, which have been already paid.
There is only one way to resolve it. It is necessary to call a Commission from a Housing Maintenance Office, which is obliged to fix low temperature.
In other words, if you do not want to be cheated, you should immediately call the Housing Maintenance Office. If it is cold in your flat, you will pay for heating anyway. Nobody cares.
Second. Accident, which is eliminated during the day, is not considered to be an accident. This day is also included to a bill for heating. Accordingly, there is a temptation to delay heating supply for a few hours counting on a hope that nobody is watching for an exact time (did it take 24 hours or more).
Consequently, we have to keep an eye on time by ourselves, to count out the time of disappearance of heating in a flat or the time of official statement about the start of repair works.
It is possible that a Housing Maintenance Office will ignore appeals of citizens in many cases. We should be persistent in our fighting for our rights. In many cases we will sue.
Of course, it’s hard, difficult and humanly disgusting to go through plethora bureaucratic procedures in order to defend your right not to pay for something that you have not obtained.
However, the law is on our side. Justice is in our hands.
It means that we have everything in order not to be fooled.
Before the heating season the «Uspishna Kraina» party will help Ukrainian citizens to protect their right to warm home. We are intended to achieve justice in relations with the authorities and representatives of utility services. We will help everyone to achieve justice.
We will watch out for the actions of municipal services, will help people to observe the correspondence between the level of providing public services and figures in bills. We will litigate against heating bills if necessary.
When the government is not interested in problems of its citizens, only we are able to help ourselves.
Do you have cold batteries? Do you know, how to ensure your right to a warm house? Did officials send you from the one bureaucracy cabinet to another? No one can answer you, why should you pay for services, which you have not been provided with? Are you ready to join us, fight against arbitrariness of public services and protect the interests of your family, your home and your community?
Call our hotline 0 800 200 555, and we will achieve justice together!
It is time for the power to understand one simple thing: people do not want to pay for mistakes and theft of the government. They will not do it anymore.