Friday, November 10, 2006

The season of angry phone calls to ZhEK (communal maintenance office or whatever it is) began this past Monday: there was no hot water all Sunday. Tepid, every now and then, but not warm enough to wash Marta.

So I called them to complain, not the first one from our building, but to the neighbors they kept saying the problem was with the taps in their apartments, nothing to blame ZhEK for. To me, the woman replied that their plumbers have already raised the water's temperature, so it should get better soon. It did.

At one point, she said she understood me because she was a tenant, too, and I had to explain that she was speaking to me not as a tenant, but as someone representing a company that received money from tenants and was supposed to make their lives comfortable using this money. I also told her that since we were about to start paying them three times the current monthly amount, they and the way they work would be receiving a lot more attention.


In last week's Korrespondent, there's a piece by Andrei Smirnov, Aleksandr Paskhover and Irina Solomko (RUS) on the new utilities tariffs. Below are a few notes:

- From Dec. 1, prices in Kyiv go up over three times; the raise is the first one in seven years.

- Mayor Chernovetsky's idea is to have "the rich pay for the poor."

- Those who paid 150 hryvnias a month ($30), will now have to pay about 500 hryvnias ($100). Those who managed to install water counters are saving about 100 hryvnias ($20) a month.

- Due to the price hike, Kyiv residents will pay 2 billion hryvnias ($400 million) more in 2007 - but will get back only 100,000 hryvnias ($20,000) worth in budget-funded social services. The rest is going to end up in the pockets of energy company owners.

- How they calculate utility tariffs (according to professor Mikhail Krasnyansky): "Imagine that you have come to a grocery story and they don't weigh sausage for you, but instead calculate its cost using integral tables."

- According to official reports, Ukraine uses about 17.5 billion cubic meters of gas for residential purposes a year. Poland (whose population is smaller than Ukraine's, about 40 million people, ) uses 4 billion cubic meters a year. Ukraine's figure is most likely not true, but since gas counters are rare, it's impossible to tell ho much gas we really consume. Some people are making huge money on this, of course.

- On the average, a Ukrainian family of four pays for 1,5 tons of water a day - which is something like 45 tons a month - which is impossible.

- Here's how much a family of three living in a two-room apartment (60 square meters) would be paying monthly when the new tariffs are introduced:

Donetsk - 464.28 hryvnias/$92.85
Odesa - 426.36 hryvnias/$85.27
Kharkiv - 424.71 hryvnias/$84.94
Kyiv - 423.33 hryvnias/$84.66
Dnipropetrovsk - 416.91 hryvnias/$83.38
Lviv - 254.34 hryvnias/$50.86
Simferopol - 155.49 hryvnias/$31.09

1 comment:

  1. I thought ZhEK translated to the "office for the exploitation of dwellers"... that seems to correspond to your story...