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Predictions did not come true: despite quarantine, Ukrainians overpaid utility bills by over a quarter in April

20 June 2020
Predictions did not come true: despite quarantine, Ukrainians overpaid utility bills by over a quarter in April

However, quarantine has affected consumers’ payment discipline. DiXi Group and Ukrayinska Energetyka analyze exactly how.

 

 

Quarantine did not become a factor for the accumulation of debts. On the contrary, in April the level of payments increased, which is a typical behavior for consumers after the end of the heating season.

According to the current data, in April 2020, Ukrainians paid UAH 14.3 billion for housing and communal services (HCS), or almost 126% of the amounts accrued for this period. The analysis of the data of the State Statistics Service on the payment for housing and communal services, conducted by the experts of DiXi Group think tank, shows that this is typical consumer behavior for this period, Ukrayinska Energetyka reports.

During almost the entire heating season (from October to February inclusive), the population pays incomplete amounts of accrued funds, which are covered in April and May, after the end of the heating season.

However, if you compare the level of payments with April 2019, it turns out that the quarantine still affected consumers: in the same month last year, they paid 159.9% of the charges.

According to experts, the situation in April should have been more pessimistic. According to them, the population might not repay a third of the total cost of the services consumed.

“It will contribute to the growth of debts and the permission to reallocate subsidies, even if their recipients did not pay for housing cost for three months through the quarantine (previously, it was allowed to reallocate subsidies if the consumer had a debt for two months),” the Minister of Social Policy Maryna Lazebna said.

“If the situation does not improve in April, then by June 1, the debt of consumers for housing and communal services will increase to UAH 40-45 billion, and the losses of public utility companies - up to UAH 7 billion,” the chairman of the Committee on Housing and Communal Services in the Public Council under the Kyiv City State Administration Oleh Popenko reported.

But, despite the positive payment discipline, the problem with debts for housing and communal services is not solved: Ukrainians already owe about UAH 57 billion - and this is without electricity.

At the end of April 2020, the debt of the population for payment for gas supply and distribution amounted to UAH 25.6 billion, which is 13.1% less than in April 2019.

UAH 20.5 billion for heat and hot water supply (higher by 5.9%), UAH 5.3 billion for centralized water supply and sewerage (higher by 45.4%), UAH 4.9 billion for multi-apartment building management (higher by 6.6%), UAH 1 billion - for the provision of household waste services (higher by 38.9%).

The total debt of the population for the supply and distribution of electricity at the end of April 2020 is UAH 5.9 billion (data for 2019 are missing).

The Ministry for Communities and Territories Development also provides data on population’s payments.

“The level of payments for public utilities without gas and electricity for the first quarter of 2020 is 87.2%, which is almost 10% more than in the same period of 2019. In March 2020, the population’s payments for district heating and hot water amounted to 102.4%; for water supply and sewerage, maintenance of buildings and adjacent territories and waste removal - at the level of 80-84%,” Deputy Minister for Communities and Territories Development Nataliya Khotsianivska said.

The total debt of the population for communal services as of April 1 amounted to UAH 33 billion. Consumers from Kyiv (almost UAH 7 billion), the Dnipropetrovsk region (over UAH 5.4 billion) and Kharkiv region (about UAH 5 billion) owed the most. Consumers from Chernivtsi (140.5 million UAH), Zakarpattia (191 million UAH) and Volyn (over 205 million UAH) regions owned the less.

“Quarantine has not become a factor of the accumulation of debts. On the contrary - the level of payments has increased compared to 2019. During the quarantine period, debts for heat and hot water supply decreased by almost UAH 2 billion,” Khotsianivska added.

We will remind, that the Verkhovna Rada prohibited to charge penalties and fines for late payment. These standards are contained in the Law N 530-IX, which was adopted by MPs on March 17, 2020. It is also prohibited to suspend or stop the provision of services to citizens even in the event of non-payment or delay.


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